Within the next two weeks, Blip.tv will be giving users the ability to insert their own custom, clickable advertising graphics and clips to their videos. The same features have already been deployed for Blip’s network ads, but this will enable show creators to place ads that are more relevant to both their content and their business. For instance, the first show to use the new custom ads is the Make Magazine video podcast — ads will allow viewers to purchase kits used in that specific show, or more generally, Make Magazine subscriptions or registrations for the popular Maker Faire events.
The mechanics of including ads will be similar to those in place for users to add their own stock intro and outro clips to videos. The ads will initially work with content in Quicktime and Flash, though Blip’s Mike Hudack told us Windows Media could be added if there’s enough demand. This means that even videos downloaded and saved, or played in iTunes, can generate clickthroughs and statistics. While stats like impressions and clickthroughs won’t be available immediately to users, they will be tracked from day one and presumably added to the rich stat reporting tools Blip added with their latest upgrade in January.
The project was suggested by Make Magazine’s Senior Editor Phillip Torrone, whose experience at advertising agency Fallon Worldwide for their award-winning work on BMW Films provided the inspiration. For his part, Hudack drew from the example of his own text blog. “When I ran my blog I made about five thousand dollars from donations and Amazon.com affiliate links alone.” Now video creators can add similar calls to action for donations through Paypal, suggested products on Amazon, merchandise from CafePress or Spreadshirt and the like to their shows.
Make was a natural fit because the video content features real goods, and Torrone pointed out that the whole DIY community can benefit. “At Make and Craft we’re seeing a lot of makers [and crafters] becoming their own businesses from selling their items on Etsy to eBay. These are custom handmade goods, crafts, electronics — a lot of really amazing stuff.” Another early addition to the program is Galacticast, who can take advantage of the new tools for their new sponsorship program.
Ideas like Blip’s could go a long way to answering many of the questions we’ve been hearing from the community about how to turn shows into viable businesses, and I happen to know that other creator-focused video sharing sites are working on similar solutions for both advertising and reporting viewership. I’m arranging for a more in-depth interview this week with Mike to discuss the business of creating content for online distribution more generally, so if you have any questions you’d like me to ask, please email them or post them in the comments.