Blip.tv made waves this morning in an early morning live stream from its NYC headquarters, announcing that the online video platform has landed a set of major distribution deals that will significantly increase the reach of its nearly 50,000 web shows.
Blip.tv CEO Mike Hudack announced that shows on blip.tv will now be able to distribute directly to YouTube and be able to place their own ads within the YouTube player. “We’re getting closer to completing the infrastructure for the next generation TV network” he said in a call with us this morning. Other major distribution deals were also inked, including with Vimeo and NBC local in the NY metro area, that allows for broadcast of thousands of web shows on NBC’s flagship WNBC channel on traditional television.
Roku is also part of the deal, with its set-top boxes rolling out with Blip.tv web series this fall joining current partners Netflix and Amazon. In their demo, Roku showed indie web series like Condition:Human, Political Lunch and Zerk’s Log on the Roku interface, moving the series from laptop to living room. Roku joins Tivo in the living room along with new internet-equipped Sony TVs as Blip partners.
Also announced was the launch of a redesigned producer dashboard complete with a whole new set of features for content creators to analyze and customize the way their shows are being seen. New features like batch editing of episodes, revenue tracking, custom end caps for episodes and other customization options for the Blip player are amongst the highlights. TubeMogul analytics, like in-video engagement, are also being worked into the dashboard.
Video ad network FreeWheel also has its hat in the ring, empowering Blip.tv to serve ads directly within YouTube. FreeWheel will presumably get a piece, along with YouTube, of the relatively high ad rates that Blip shows enjoy. On average, according to TechCrunch, Blip videos are commanding between $10 and $20 per thousand views (CPM). George Strompolos from YouTube said that he was delighted to be partnering with Blip and opening up its dominant video site to outside advertising. “One of the things we believe in at YouTube is an open Web,” he commented.
The implications of all of these announcements could be significant, marking a radical step up in the reach of web series into a mainstream audience. Blip, which only does about 4% of its total video stream on its flagship site, is setting itself apart from other online video platforms as more of a backbone for web television delivery. Latest figures from the company say that they are getting over 72 million views per month, a number that will certainly increase in the aftermath of this deal.
The NBC deal for traditional TV broadcast of web series will no doubt cause a few eyebrows to be raised at the entertainment unions, who have substantially different contracts in place for broadcast television compared to the new media contracts that many web series currently use. Set-top boxes and VOD are one thing, but crossing the line into broadcast television won’t be taken lightly. But its not to say that they didn’t see this coming, as the lines between traditional television and web television have been blurring for quite some time.