Start-ups specializing in Internet video content inevitably have to find some way to answer the question: How do we deal with YouTube? Indeed, the recent Google acquisition is such a behemoth in the Web video market that sometimes it seems impossible for small new companies to make a name for themselves without fizzling. But now that some of YouTube's vulnerabilities have been exposed--a viewership with a distaste for advertisement, and a distinct profitability problem--companies like Blip.tv see open niches.
When News.com's Web 2.0 blog about Blip.tv, back in June, the Manhattan-based company was still trying to get off the ground. The start-up had a hypothetical model based on ad support, but had yet to launch its service in full. I was able to catch up with some Blip representatives at DigitalLife last week, and was quite interested in what they had to say about how the company has evolved and grown since we had previously covered it.
My impression was that this won't be a YouTube killer, but that's because Blip has managed to differentiate itself from straight-up video-sharing sites. It's not intended as a site to upload that clip of your cat drinking out of the toilet or of you lip-synching to the latest European techno-pop import. Rather, this is designed for online "TV shows" that are filmed, uploaded, and (optimally) watched regularly. Syndication is easy, as is "outsourcing" to different blogging platforms as well as video-on-demand service Akimbo--with an end goal of making its top video programs viewable on TVs rather than just computers. And Blip members who participate in an opt-in advertising program will receive a share of the revenue.
Plus, Blip has managed to construct itself a socially conscious profile, with a mission statement underscoring "open media," "shows" from eco-blog TreeHugger and Rocketboom-host-turned-environmental-crusader , as well as a software deal with CNN that powers its I-Report citizen journalism operation.
It's always impossible to tell which of these Web 2.0 startups will be the survivors--these days, they're popping up like mushrooms. But I think Blip.tv, with a business model that allows but doesn't mandate advertising, as well as a "power-to-the-people" image, shows more-than-decent potential. It's made good progress since June.