Its platform allows the same content to be distributed automatically in multiple channels, including YouTube, iTunes, and Internet-enabled television. Advertisers can target viewers watching specific categories of content.
Location: New York City
Telephone: (212) 843 8024
Year Founded: 2005
Number of Employees: 19
President and CEO: Mike Hudack
Bio: Mike dropped out of high school to become a software developer. Before Blip, Mike was a manager for the National Hockey League. He has also created and maintained a number of independent media projects.
COO: Dina Kaplan
Bio: A graduate of Weslyan University with a degree in economics, government, philosophy and history. Prior to Blip.tv, Kaplan was a television reporter working for WNBC in New York among others. She also served as director of research for the White House Counsel’s Office, and as special assistant to the director of Presidential personnel.
CTO: Justin Day
Bio: Bachelors in computer science from California State University Fresno. Day co-founded Persite Communications, which develops technology solutions for retail stores. Before Blip.tv, Day was a lead developer at Capital Printing, and in 2000 he founded linkfilter.net, an early social media site.
Investors in Blip.tv include Bain Capital Ventures, Ambient Sound Investments, and an undisclosed number of angel investors, including Ron Conway and Peter Thiel. A first round of investing closed in June 2007, and a second round closed in October 2008, raising over $8 million in total.
Blip.tv provides online video services to content creators, distributors, advertisers, and viewers. Their key technology is the “Otter” software platform, which integrates these services across different formats and distribution channels and was originally built as an information management tool for corporations. Otter allows Blip.tv to easily syndicate content to distributors such as the iTunes store or the Sony Bravio television Internet video network. Blip. Tv offers a service to advertisers looking to target consumers watching specific categories of content.
Blip.tv serves three main market segments: content creators, advertisers, and media partners. Blip has over 46,000 independent producers of film content in their content database. Blip attracts content creators by sharing 50% of advertising revenue with creators. Blip.tv counts Hulu among their main competitors for advertising. Although Hulu’s content is mainly syndicated from major television and movie studios while Blip.tv provides almost entirely independent content, Blip.Tv executives state that Hulu is the company they come up against most , likely because both companies offer customer targeting technology catering to advertisers. Blip.tv is not in itself a well-known destination site for viewers such as YouTube or Hule and thus depends on media partners to expose viewers to their content. Blip.tv is working with AOL, MSN, iTunes, Fios, and Tivo, among others. As blip.tv expands, however, they might want to consider developing the “destination” piece of their business so as to attract more and more people to their own website.
Blip.tv continues to spend most of its excess budget in development, employing 9 (out of 19) software engineers. There are three main areas in which Blip.tv plans to focus its strategy over the next eighteen months. The first is to increase the number of viewers of their content, with a goal of reaching half the US television market by the end of 2011 through partnerships and integrations with additional media partners. Blip.tv is currently negotiating with YouTube, Vimeo, AOL, and MSN, among others.
Second, Blip.tv is developing the social networking aspect of their platform. They are trying to create an “activity feed” dashboard, which would pull in information from all of the locations where Blip.tv content exists. So for instance, if someone comments on a YouTube video originating from Blip.tv, that comment would be available to viewers watching that video on any other platform.
Finally, Blip.tv is trying to improve its ability to target ads to viewers. This includes spending quite a bit of time analyzing and understanding their demographics. According to Dina Kaplan, they are currently able to deliver industry or interest-specific, relevant content to more than 60% of their customers based on their predetermined preferences, while the remaining 40% still view more generalized content. Kaplan hopes to raise this number to 90% within the year.
Challenges and Next Steps
Blip.tv’s main challenges now are optimizing their advertising products and finding ways to provide additional value to advertisers in order to command higher price premiums. A second challenge is increasing their ability to segment their content to deliver it to the right audiences through their media partnerships. That is, not just sending any content to AOL, but rather sending them the “right” content for each of AOL’s markets to better cater to their audience. This would all obviously be relatively easy on a small scale - the big challenge is finding ways to do content targeting automatically with hundreds of thousands of videos and millions of viewers. It is possible that, looking ahead at Blip.tv’s technology roadmap, they will need to raise another round of funding in order to carry out their development goals.
Compiled by Jen Novak