How Blip.tv Scales Original Web Video
Dina Kaplan, chief marketing officer at Blip.tv, explains how Blip.tv grew to an online video network with 300 million views per month and ad clients like Coca-Cola, Disney, and Procter & Gamble.
00:00 Dina Kaplan: My name is Dina Kaplan. I'm one of the founders of Blip.tv. And we're the place to discover the best in original web series, which essentially means that we host what are basically TV shows for the internet. Its original content, it's all serialized, and it's on everything from fashion to beauty to shows about video games to scripted sitcoms and even scripted dramas. So there are five founders of Blip, and one of them named Jared Klett, met the producer of Rocketboom one day and the host. This was really the first web show to be produced and aired five days a week, and it was about the intersection of politics and technology and pop culture. So he came back to the rest of us and said, "I just saw the future of television." And so we decided to create a company that serve producers who are creating basically original television shows just produced for the internet rather than for television. And so we launched Blip three days after we had the idea.
How was Blip.tv initially funded?
01:03 Kaplan: So what we did is all five founders of Blip still doing full-time jobs, saving the day job, we would work on Blip Wednesday nights, and then, my cofounders who were all from an engineering background would just code all weekend long. So we spent a year working on Blip before any of us was full time. And after a year, where I was mainly the one that was out pounding the pavement trying to raise money, I finally raised enough money for just the five founders to go full time for a little bit.
01:34 Kaplan: In the early days of Blip, you were selling to marketers an idea. "Hey, wouldn't it be cool to advertise on web video. You have the benefit of the metrics of the web, which can tell you how many people are watching this... Are watching this ad, how many people are clicking on it, how many people are engaging, how many Facebook likes we can drive for you, etc." We also have the great beauty of the visual of the advantage of a television ad. Obviously, if you have a video ad, it has texture; it can have emotion; it can convey a lot more than a display ad can. And so we would say, "Okay, you have the benefits of the television ad in terms of the visual and texture and the beauty of that and you have the benefits of the metrics of the web. But until you're really up scale, it's hard to say, "And by the way, we're going to help you sell your product." But now that we are at scale, we can say that and we can show it, and that's one of the reasons that we're seeing such an uptake in advertising dollars to Blip content and all over online video as long as it's premium. So I should add that. You will do a lot better in online video in terms of monetizing your content, if the content is premium. Advertisers, and I think it's fair on their part, are a little bit scared about content that they can't trust. With Blip, they know that they can trust the content. And so because of that, we're put in that safe bucket, and that's another reason why we're seeing such an inflow of advertising dollars to Blip.tv content.
How is Blip.tv doing now?
03:03 Kaplan: It's been a while to see this transformation. So we started Blip in 2005. In the winter of 2008 to 2009, while the rest of the world was just crumbling economically, essentially advertising for videos went from the off-switch to the full on-switch. And I think what happened is two things: One, Blip reaped scales. So we reached 100 million video views. And at that point, that's when it's worth it for Procter & Gamble and Coke and Disney and companies that are not advertising for the sake of it but relying on you to help you sell their products, General Mills, General Motors. I mean these are serious marketers. They realize that by advertising on Blip content, they can reach scale, and we can actually drive the needle for them in terms of increasing sales of products that are key and important to them. The second thing is that because we were in the midst, the whole country, the whole world really was in the midst of a financial recession, the metrics became very important. It's very easy to measure how successful your advertising is and the marketers can go back to their bosses and say, "Hey, look, what we can do with your dollars if we spend it on online video, if we spend it on Blip. Here is exactly what we will get for that." Metrics were fantastic. So because we could report all of that, we ended up seeing a lot more money coming to our world, and then that's continuing to happen.
04:26 Kaplan: So we now have over 65 employees. They're all around the country. So people working out of Europe as well and we attract over 300 million video views a month. I believe that we're the largest independently owned video network in North America, if not the world. So it's been very exciting and very rewarding to be on the entrepreneurial ride as part of Blip.tv.