A reinvented Blip rolled out a handful of original series, provided details on a new content partnership with My Damn Channel, revealed a production deal with YouTube giant Ray William Johnson and announced a new hire at a lively NewFront presentation in New York today.
The venture-backed company, an early leader in original Web series, sought to break from its previous image as the home of amateur series. A previously open platform, Blip is now closed off, as the company looks to make fewer bets while building out a reputation as an entertainment destination for adults 18-34. The content presented today was distinctive in that it was not much like traditional television, carrying a definite Millennial, Web video aesthetic.
“Blip is the future of TV,” said CEO Kelly Day. “We have the largest library of Web originals anywhere. And we are not a platform.”
Among the new series Day’s team touted was Mainly Murder, which stars comedian Rob Huebel (Children’s Hospital) and former Saturday Night Live cast member Tim Meadows as stars of a dinner theater group.
Huebel hosted Blip’s NewFront event, during which he poked fun at the online ad industry and the NewFronts in general. “Everyone here gets a free Jet Ski, and access to Blip’s stretch Hummer limo for one year!
“You are the people who are responsible for me seeing an ad before every video I see on the Internet. I have some choice words for you.”
Huebel also announced that “For everyone that attended AOL’s NewFront, you now have bedbugs.”
Earlier this week, Blip announced a production and content partnership with My Damn Channel. The two companies are working on four original series. According to My Damn Channel CEO Rob Barnett, “We get television-sized audiences every day.”
Barrett also previewed the second season of Wainy Days, about the hapless dating exploits of a single man played by David Wain, the director of movies such as Role Models.
The two companies are also collaborating on selling ads for Daily Grace, a video blog starring that has become veritable YouTube sensation among the younger set. The vlog’s star Grace Helbig made a brief appearance during the NewFront, during which she asked an audience member to role-play with her. The exec took on the role of Helbig hosting her video show, while Helbig took on the part of one of her commenters, interrupting the attendee as soon as he spoke: “Fuck you, I’m bored! Now try to sell me something.”
Among the other Blip originals Day and her team highlighted is the romantic sitcom Hipsterhood, which is returning for a second season, and Jewelry Star, a jewelry-making competition series backed by the Los Angeles retail store Beach Mint.
Producer Thom Beers (The Deadliest Catch, Axe Men) also made an appearance, talking about his Blip-backed YouTube channel The Pet Collective, which has generated 30 million views to date. Beers said that Pet Collective had landed a new sponsorship deal with Purina.
While Blip’s content slate ranged from talk shows to vlogs to goofy comedies, the Web company did preview a slick drama vehicle: The Great S. Cape. That show, the brainchild of The Dark Knight Rises producer Michael Uslan, features a magician/illusionist fighting crimes.
To help sell all this new content, and Blip’s evolved positioning, the company has brought on Jason Krebs, former Tremor Video's chief media officer, as president of sales and marketing.
And to close today’s NewFront, Blip brought out Ray William Johnson, a hugely popular YouTube star who continues to endure a very public divorce with Maker Studios. Johnson and Blip plan to collaborate on a new yet-to-be-revealed production.