When Blip came on the scene in 2005, the pioneering startup was ahead of its time, building a network and set of tools designed to help the nascent community of independent Web series. And when Blip unveiled a Hulu-esque consumer -acing hub last year, the timing seeming ideal, as interest in original video content was swelling.
But that was $100 million in YouTube seed money, and roughly 100 million Web series ago. With 18 different companies hosting digital upfront events in the past month, one might wonder, is Blip still relevant? Or will talent and advertisers start bypassing the company in search of fortune and glory on the YouTubes, Hulus and Yahoos of the world?
“The YouTube channels will likely pull advertisers from Blip given advertisers desire to be associated with the YouTube brand and its large and well connected salesforce.” said Adam Kasper, evp partnerships and investments, Havas Digital. “And the new YouTube channels are very high quality.”
But not everyone agrees. “While Blip may not have huge scale, they can really blow things out for your brand,” said Pohmedia digital strategist Jordan Bratter. "My experience has been tremendous."
Blip continues to be popular in the indy creative world. In fact, according to Blip CEO Kelly Day—who joined the company in March after the departures of co-founders Mike Hudak and Dina Kaplan—more than 17,000 creators uploaded shows in the past 90 days. And per comScore, though Blip’s audience declined 11 percent in the past year to 5.1 million uniques in March, views have curiously surged by 131 percent. “We’ve have extremely high user engagement,” Day said. "I don't see the mission changing."
However, Day confirmed that Blip is now planning to both curate more content and co-develop Web series.
One thing Blip may be doing less of is selling and distributing other companies’ content. According to sources, Blip has struggled to deliver on that front.
Last year the company held a press event touting a deal with The Collective, the production company behind YouTube stars Fred and The Annoying Orange. The deal quietly expired recently. “That was a tough deal for both companies,” said Day.