Media Analysis : Blip.tv

by criticalhit009

“Re-issue! Re-package! Re-package!” – The Smiths, “Paint a Vulgar Picture”

An old paper for a media course. The data here is useful, especially since Blip no longer exists.

Media Technology Analysis: blip.tv

Blip.tv is a website designed specifically for the sustainability of web series and shows. Content show creators may make revenue through advertisements before/during their content. It is a free service for anyone who would like to create content (and perhaps earn some money as well.)

  1. History /Development
    1. Founded in May 2005 by Mike Hudack (CEO), Dina Kaplan (COO) , Justin Day (CTO), Jared Klett (Chief engineer), and Charles Hope (Dir. of R&D)
      1. Founded out of personal interests in online videos
    2. Gained momentum as rival web series platform Revver declined due to numerous problems (ceasing to exist around early 2009)
      1. Revver ceased to pay the 50% ad revenue due to many content producers around late 2008 (rumored to be due to debt problems); many switched over to blip.tv in between late 2008 to and 2009
    3. May 1st, 2007 – won Webby award for Best Broadband Website
    4. July 27th, 2007 – Website blocked by government of China (and continues today)
    5. September 23, 2008 – Michael Moore’s film “Slacker Uprising” became available for free exclusively through blip.tv
    6. November 8, 2010 – surpasses 100 million views in October
    7. Over 2010, Blip.tv built a Creative Services Team, who were recently announced in March 25 to be a team dedicated to creating specialty video ads for brands, tapping into an untouched area in advertising of (contextual)  interactivity (“It’s Official”)
  2. Popularity/Cost
    1. Blip’s network of partners reaches over 33 million unique users each month and delivers 140 million video views globally. The company’s ad business has been soaring of late, increasing five-fold last year (though blip would not release any specific dollars, revenue should double or triple in 2011).” (“It’s Official”)
    2. “Blip.tv shows are capturing 10% of the audience of network TV shows from ABC, NBC and FOX combined” (“More content creators cashing in on Blip.tv”)
    3. We provide services to more than 50,000 independently produced Web shows. More than 44,000 show creators use blip.tv every day to manage their online and offline presence.” (“About blip.tv”)
    4. 50/50 revenue share – half of ad revenue goes to the content producers, half to blip.tv
      1. Platform is free for content creators
      2. Videos free to watch for consumers
    5. Why has blip.tv survived and grown in popularity?  CEO Hudack stated that there are a couple of reasons for blip.tv’s success:
      1. “blip.tv has zeroed in its focus on cultivating quality content creators and taking a larger role in ensuring the success of that content.” and
      2. “blip.tv has been very bullish in the connected TV space, signing deals with companies like Roku, Boxee, TiVo and Sony Bravia to bring blip.tv content to those devices.” (“With internet TV booming Blip.tv raises $10.1 million”)
  3. Cultural Benefits
    1. Disrupting cultural/social hierarchy of the traditional mass media communications model (this could also be interpreted as a pitfall, depending on your point of view – i.e. a member of that traditional model.)
      1. Empowering for users to create content and a stronger participatory culture.
        1. Very easy (and free) to start up your own web series in terms of distribution on the web and revenue gaining.
      2. Creates some footing against top-down mass media (perhaps not equal now, but someday?) for consumers to have their say and become their own producers.
    2. Encourages a participatory culture and a democratization of content
      1. Freedom to create any kind of content you want on the site (except no piracy or pornography.)
      2. The opportunity to create content is open to anyone (though to do so a camera and a computer is needed.)
    3. Creates positive communities between content producers and consumers
        1. For example, I feel a strong emotional bond to the content producers at a blip.tv user website http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/ [Note: this piece was originally written in 2010.]
    4. Creating own cultures and subcultures for different web series, inspiring consumers to create their own content (for example, fan art, or a “Best of” video)
    5. Creates positive communal and personal identities attached to the content and fandom
  4. Cultural Pitfalls
    1. A new cultural hierarchy is created, though the content creators at the top are not very imposing or dominating to consumers as the past mass media model.
      1. There are basic (and obvious) requirements for producers to make content: a camera and a computer (with stable access to the web.)
        1. Ideally one could start low budget, then as popularity and revenue gradually rises, the quality rises in terms of technology. (I have seen this happen.) Nonetheless, those with better technology (such as advanced editing programs) may also have somewhat more views for their videos.
          1. Though as the blip.tv website states “the only constraint is that imposed by the limits of human creativity.” (http://blip.tv/principles/)
        2. Overall, there is still a very slight hierarchy due to access to technology and the prestige as a content producer.
  5. Analysis

I marvel at the strength of participatory culture in challenging the mass communication model of media. Not only is blip.tv (along with other sites, and the internet itself) creating an alternative for people to access and consume content, it also empowers people to create their own. Blip.tv is a serious player against the mass model in the sheer amount and quality of its content that it accrues through its facilitation and encouragement of producers. This not only can provide revenue for people, but it also opens up more discussion of current topics, democratizing expression and threatening the mass model. Essentially, producers (whether inadvertently or not) are seizing media power for themselves away from the elite, creating a new model of (ideally) equal communication.

The proliferation of content created illustrates an active consciousness among producers. Though it’s not likely that every producer realizes their profound impact upon the traditional model of communication, they all realize that they are participating in something new, powerful, and profitable. It’s a total reversal of the passive consumer; though consumption is still a key part of content, awareness plays a much larger role than ever before for consumers. Viewers not usually actively discern their content, and may go on to create their own. It’s as if a great consciousness has awakened when given the correct tools, blip.tv being just one of them.

Personally, I do believe that blip.tv is a powerful social good. It immensely liberates and democratizes freedom of expression for those who wish to share their thoughts. In an age of facebook and twitter, it seems uncontrolled expression becomes the norm. And I embrace it.

Works Cited

“blip.tv press site.” blip.tv. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://press.blip.tv/&gt;.

“blip.tv’s mission and principles.” blip.tv. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://blip.tv/‌principles/&gt;.

Bogatin, Donna. “Blip.tv vs. YouTube? Founder talks ‘The Real Deal’ in exclusive interview .” ZDNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://www.zdnet.com/‌blog/‌micro-markets/‌bliptv-vs-youtube-founder-talks-the-real-deal-in-exclusive-interview/‌658&gt;.

Lavrusik, Vadim. “More Content Creators Cashing in on Blip.tv.” Mashable. Mashable, 7 July 2010. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://mashable.com/‌2010/‌07/‌07/‌blip-tv-increases-payouts/&gt;.

Michaud, Mike. “Blip + Revver update.” Site News. That Guy With The Glasses, 14 Sept. 2008. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/‌site-news/‌general-updates/‌1678-blip-revver-update&gt;.

Michaud, MIke. “Revver Be Dead.” Site News. That Guy With The Glasses, 14 Nov. 2008. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/‌site-news/‌general-updates/‌2483-revver-be-dead&gt;.

Schroeder, Stan. “Michael Moore’s Slacker Uprising Now Available.” Mashable. Mashable, 23 Sept. 2008. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://mashable.com/‌2008/‌09/‌23/‌michael-moore-slacker-uprising-download/&gt;.

Shields, Mike. “It’s Official: Blip.tv Is in the Creative Biz.” Adweek. N.p., 25 Mar. 2011. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://www.adweek.com/‌aw/‌content_display/‌news/‌digital/‌e3i9343b011681a9d0dc77cedfa6699815e?imw=Y&gt;.

Warren, Christina. “With Internet TV Booming, Blip.tv raises $10.1 M.” Mashable. Mashable, 6 May 2010. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://mashable.com/‌2010/‌05/‌19/‌blip-tv-raises-10-1-million/&gt;.

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