blip.tv has long been a CC-friendly staple for video sharing online, providing users a means to upload their content under a CC licence while simultaneously facilitating commercial avenues that would go otherwise unforeseen. We recentlly got up with blip.tv CTO Justin Day and asked him some questions, allowing us to peer more deeply into the unique opportunities blip.tv provides for its users.
(photo via potatono)
Can you give us some background on blip.tv? When and why did it start up? Who’s involved? What is blip.tv’s purpose?
Blip.tv is a video hosting site that’s focused on shows. What that means is that we narrow our attention to independent content creators who make regular episodic shows on the web. We started in direct response to the needs of the emerging videoblogging community in 2005. Our purpose was to give shows an open platform from which they could build their own brand and identity online.
Unlike a lot of online video-sharing sites, blip.tv focuses on episodic content. What led you to this focus?
We focused on episodic content because we’ve always positioned blip.tv to be a pro-sumer tool for independent content creators. Because the community has grown from simple video diaries to web shows of every sort, we’ve grown with them.
blip.tv is distinct in that it has an interesting ad-revenue sharing model with content uploaders as well as distribution deals outside of the web. Can you elaborate on what this entails and share any illuminating anecdotes?
We view monetization and distribution all as part of the same whole, which is to provide the content creators with the best tools to keep making great shows. With advertising we allow shows to opt-in to our network of ad networks right from the first day. Once they build an audience we go to work with direct sponsorship sales. All revenue is split down right down the middle with the creators. Distribution is similar, we want to give a show as much exposure as possible be that on blip.tv, their own website, iTunes, or direct to the living room like with the Sony Bravia. It only helps us both. One of the most interesting lessons learned in my mind was how important building a destination site brand is to driving that exposure, which is one of the reasons why more of our focus has been there in recent months. Originally we thought of ourselves as merely a platform, whereas now we understand that in order to be effective we have to be both platform and destination.
The option to CC license is built into to blip.tv’s UI. Do you find that users utilize CC licensing often? What are the benefits users have in using CC licenses on blip.tv?
From the very beginning we’ve been big proponents of openness and sharing. We’ve never had licensing where we claim to own other peoples content, nor have we ever tried to obscure direct downloads of the original source material. CC plays a critical role in maintaining an open community from which everyone benefits. Nearly a quarter of the videos uploaded to blip.tv are under CC licensing. By allowing for sharing, re-mixing and re-sharing on the content creator’s own terms we provide more opportunity for shows to grow and build community.
CC Founder Larry Lessig has called blip.tv a “true” sharing site as it allows content creators the option to have their videos downloaded, enabling sharing and reuse. Can you talk about any interesting instances of reuse that have arisen from users choosing CC licensing?
I think one of the most interesting CC experiences I’ve seen on blip.tv was early on, when Rudy Jahchan and Casey McKinnon, the brilliant minds behind Galacticast, created an episode titled “Node 666”. Members of the videoblogging community created clips which imagined themselves as survivors of a post apocalyptic earth and uploaded them to blip.tv under CC licensing. Rudy and Casey gathered and edited together the clips into to one of their most memorable episodes to date.
What’s next for blip.tv?
Next for blip.tv is to keep doing what we’ve been doing, which is building great tools for great video makers. We want to keep pushing independent show creators to the forefront until they are able to build sustainable businesses out of their creative talents. Part of that vision is to continue leveraging CC licensing to give content creators access to distribute and re-use great content.