For most of the year, Blip.tv has been quiet; other than the announcement of a new dashboard and distribution partners in July, the company has been heads down working on adding features and striking deals with advertisers and content providers alike. Then a funny thing happened: CEO Mike Hudack urged all content partners to opt into advertising in December in a blog post titled, “There’s money to be made in December.”
Exactly how much money will be made? To find out, we interviewed Hudack in Blip’s New York office. He didn’t give us any revenue numbers (the company is privately held and doesn’t share that information), but we learned that, with major brand advertisers like Chevy (s GM), Scion, Best Buy (s BBI), Nikon, Canon, Samsung, and AT&T (s T) on board, Blip is poised to have its best month ever in December, selling out its inventory for the month and wrapping up what has been a whirlwind year for the online video distribution company.
That’s good news for Blip, and for its content partners since it shares revenue with them 50-50. So how much can content producers expect? In his blog post earlier this month, Hudack wrote, “A show with 100,000 views per month (mostly in the Flash player and in the U.S.) should earn $1,000 or more per month if opted in. Revenue scales up and down with views.” Some producers, he wrote, are making more than $100,000 a year with Blip.
Blip has seen astonishing growth over the past year; its platform is now being used to manage, distribute and monetize more than 50,000 shows and more than 3 million episodes from independent web video producers. The increase in the number of content providers has also helped drive an increase in video views. Hudack says views have more than doubled over the past year, with the company expecting more than 85 million during December.
Blip’s mission, Hudack said, is to make web shows sustainable. But the industry is on the cusp of turning web video from a hobby into a real business. “If 2009 was the year in which we built to this inflection point where web video is a sustainable business, then 2010 is the year in which we begin to turn web shows into real profit centers,” he said.
Because the company’s content is primarily published by professional and semi-professional content creators, it’s been able to find brands that will advertise against most of its videos. Unlike user-generated content-driven sites like YouTube (s GOOG), Hudack said Blip is able to monetize about 80 percent of the videos that it helps distribute.
Part of its appeal among independent video publishers stems from the size of its distribution network. With partnerships at YouTube, Yahoo Video (s YHOO), AOL (s AOL), iTunes, Facebook, MySpace and others, Blip claims to syndicate content to 80 percent of the “video Internet” already — and it’s looking to increase that distribution with even more online partnerships in the coming months.
But the big opportunity for Blip will come in extending its distribution channel directly to the TV. It’s already doing that through partnerships with video service providers like Verizon (s VZ) FiOS, as well as consumer electronics device makers like Sony (s SNE), TiVo (s TIVO), Roku and Boxee. Blip’s new goal is for its distribution platform to be on the TV in one way or another in one-half of U.S. households by 2011, according to Hudack. That means having discussions with all the major CE manufacturers, including Vizio, Panasonic, Samsung and LG to get its video embedded in their devices.
“We’re building what we think is the next-generation TV platform,” Hudack said. By doing so, the company hopes to democratize the video industry by making it drop-dead simple for good content creators to find an audience and compete with network TV. With broad distribution online and even more of its video coming to users’ TV sets over the next year, Blip seems poised to do just that.