What is your strategy for this?
You know, we’re pretty selective about who we partner with. Last year, we actually made a kind of contrarian decision to put up more of an application process because we do believe in really helping content creators achieve their goals, and so we want to invest in content and invest in creators that we really think we can help them build a meaningful audience. So the first thing is we are a more selective curated experience, and the second thing is that we approach it as a partnership so you know every week we’re sitting down with them, looking at the audience numbers, looking at how things are going. We both have a commitment in terms of marketing, in terms of audience development, in terms of distribution strategies so we approach it as a partnership; we look at everything from how can we package up and potentially sell the content into distribution channels in exchange for either premium monetization or promotion or things like that. We look all the way down to are you annotating every single video? Are you putting bumpers at the end of the video? We go all the way from sort of the big, macro-strategy in terms of distribution and monetization strategies all the way down to really helping them look at every link on every page to make sure they’re getting as many views as they possibly can.
You’ve had a long and successful internet career before you became CEO of Blip. How do you feel all those experiences benefited you in your position at Blip?
Yes, I worked in digital media for almost 20 years, pretty long time. I’ve had a great experience of seeing companies when I was at AOL in the early days, when I was at The Knot, from going very small community-driven companies to being very big digital media companies, and so obviously that experience of having worked at a startup and seen it grow into hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue is definitely influenced by perspective on things and was a great learning experience. I spent seven years at Discovery [Communications] which was completely amazing and a wonderful brand and a very well run company. Learned a ton about the television industry and really instilled a lot of passion I think in terms of content and power of creating very unique content and connecting the audience, and so I think the combination of those early experiences at places like AOL and then some of the most wonderful media brands like Discovery has definitely influenced how I think about building and running Blip.
Where do you see Blip going in the future?
So along the lines of continuing to be selective, we want to continue to invest in content, we want to continue to partner with people we think are making the very best content. We’re not afraid to have a point of view about what we think is good, and we want to build really the go-to destination for audiences to discover really amazing shows and be able to watch them on any platform, share them, and we’re trying to build a brand.
There is the age-old question of traditional media and new media: Will they fight to the death, or fuse together? Do you see online content becoming the go-to form of entertainment?
I definitely think it’s a massive generational shift, right? I think it comes down to how audiences, or how people, want to spend their free time. People only have so many hours in the day and only so many hours they can dedicate to entertainment. I think slightly older audiences — and when I say older, I’m talking even 30, 40-somethings and up who have kind of grown up watching cable television. Adults tend to turn on the TV a lot whereas obviously teens and 20-somethings tend to go to the web or go to their phones, maybe never get cable television but they tend to turn online first, and so some of it I think is a generational shift, some of it I think is a life phase, depending on how much disposable income you have for content and media. But I do think continually you see blurring of the lines between what is digital and what is TV, and I do think at some point a lot of the series that you see on Blip people will stop calling them web series and just start talking about them like TV. When you get to a world where you’ve got a series of apps whether it be on your Roku, your Xbox or whatever your in-home entertainment device is — it may even be your iPad or your phone that you’re airplaying or permcasting to your TV — I think when you get to a world where you have the majority of people who are using an app-driven world, then I could easily see a Blip app alongside a ABC or HBO or whatever app because ultimately it’s about great storytelling, great character development, good production value, and more and more we’re seeing creators be able to produce higher and higher quality content, and once the devices enable kind of a more level playing field in that regard, then I think it all is TV.
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