Episodic, a startup we’ve been eagerly anticipating, took the wraps off its service today in order to launch a feature for content creators to create their own iPhone-compatible sites. Episodic’s greater vision is to be a video hosting platform for web publishers of episodic, story-driven content. Basically, it’s trying to out-blip blip, by having a singular focus on online video shows.
We had a chance recently to catch up with Episodic CEO Noam Lovinsky, who developed the idea of building a “WordPress for video” as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Granite Ventures and took $1.5 million in funding from that firm in July. He now has a small team in San Francisco. We’d previously met Lovinsky when he was running the failed event-planning startup Skobee.
Episodic has developed a nice interface for browser-based manipulation of advertising and content — where content creators can modify their videos, rotate in new ad campaigns and receive real-time analytics. It aims to make money by taking a cut of revenue from advertising shown on its customers’ videos.
The company is laser-focused on the needs of show creators, which could mean anyone from an independent producer to the digital division of a broadcast network. Take this example of an extremely specific feature mentioned in an email from Lovinsky:
“One of the more interesting features that’s coming soon is the ability to do A/B testing on both clips and thumbnails. As you probably already know, thumbnails are critical to getting plays. With that in mind, our player will allow you to rotate several thumbnails for the first X thousand views and then automatically select the thumbnail that gets the best play conversion.”
It’s a definite sign that online video is maturing to see a new funded startup focusing on online content creators as a market. Whether or not it’s a valid market hasn’t been established yet, but based on the new companies we’re seeing formed — e.g. Video Breakouts, which we wrote about today — this is a coming trend.
But at the same time, Episodic is just now getting into this market — Lovinsky said he is in tests with some customers but didn’t disclose names — so it may be tough to get video creators to switch their precious shows to an unproven platform. blip, by contrast, has grown up alongside the online video show phenomenon, and has deep loyalty within the online video community.
Episodic, though, is comparing itself more to white-label providers such as Ooyala, Brightcove, and thePlatform. It offers a custom player as well as integration with TubeMogul for cross-posting across video sites. It also built its own ad server but integrates with outside vendors, and works with any CDN, said Lovinsky.