blip.tv: the next generation
This morning we unveiled what we’ve been working on for the better part of a year. If you attended our breakfast event or watched it via LiveStream you’ve already seen the demos. If not you should shortly be getting access to the new stuff.
Our announcement focused on several things:
- A completely new Show Creator Dashboard (this is being rolled out slowly, starting with about a hundred show creators)
- An expanded distribution network that now includes YouTube, Vimeo and NBC.
- Expanded television distribution via Verizon, Roku, Sony Consumer Electronics and TiVo.
- New technology partnerships with FreeWheel and TubeMogul to drive richer analytics and smooth advertising trafficking across the entire blip.tv network.
Our mission is to make independent Web shows sustainable. We’re building a next-generation television network in order to accomplish our mission. Today’s announcement revealed a series of steps that we’re taking to accomplish these twin goals.
The big three television networks began broadcasting television more than fifty years ago. Most of them started decades earlier as radio networks.
Over the course of the last century the television networks (and their younger cable siblings) have evolved into nearly perfect businesses. Unfortunately, however, they have optimized for a historical condition: an oligarchical economy of scarcity. The networks are perfect for an era of expensive production, limited distribution and ubiquitous attention.
2009 is not 1949. Modern consumer electronics and the Internet have ushered in a new economy of plenty. Production costs have decreased at an astounding rate. Distribution has become ubiquitous. It is no longer necessary, for all but the most ambitious projects, to seek out a studio to bankroll your pilot and a network executive to green light you for a time slot. Your talent and work ethic are now greater predictors of your success than who you know.
We’ve designed something new for this economy of plenty. We’ve designed a next-generation television network.
Blip.tv is open to anyone and everyone. There are no pitch meetings. We don’t bankroll projects (most projects don’t need that kind of bankroll anymore anyway).
Our function is simple: we put economies of scale to work for independent producers. We provide services like technology and bandwidth, workflow automation, distribution and business development. We provide services like advertising sales. We do all of this in exchange for a revenue share. We’ve embraced a radical new model. No points on the production. No creative control. No contracts. You can leave at any time if you find someone who can do it better.
On the Internet there are no more time slots. There is no more scarcity. No more getting canceled and replaced with reruns of American Idol. Shows that appeal to 100,000 people can peacefully coexist with shows that appeal to 10,000,000 people. And both can be sustainable. Shows reaching a hundred thousand people can be bundled together into packages for advertisers. This benefits show creators because 100,000 people are usually too few to justify an ad buy. It benefits advertisers because packages made up of lots of little shows can be much better targeted than individual mass market shows.
The new Dashboard and our new partnerships makes all of this smoother. The new distribution relationships bring us closer to reaching Total Potential Audience. New features like comment and friend request aggregation make interacting with your audience easier. Engagement graphs and advanced analytics create a positive feedback loop leading to Kaizen-like continual improvement.
We’re on our way. We envision a future — a not too distant future — in which the majority of video consumed by Americans is created by talented and hardworking independents. A world in which anyone with a voice and talent can create a self-sustaining masterwork of a show. A world of infinite channels where any show, created by anyone, can be viewed by anyone on any device and any relevant Web site. A world in which individual network executives no longer determine which artists are graced by the good fortune to be put in front of the public.
We’re getting there, and we’re marching forward with a great group of partners. Thank you YouTube, NBC, Sony, Roku, TubeMogul, Vimeo, TiVo, Boxee, AOL, MSN, Facebook, Miro, Apple, Twitter and Verizon. We’re all in this together. Together we’re creating a new future for television.
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