The State Of Play In Web Video

I recently received an email from Blip.tv (one of the services that I use to host video on the web) reminding me that they are no longer supporting distribution to iTunes for videos uploaded to their service. It’s one of many changes that Blip has made in recent years to gain an advantage over competing video services by emphasizing their own site as a destination. I also recently noticed that Blip.tv (after being acquired by Maker Studios) closed their service to new accounts.

Blip Temporarily Closed

The advantage of having viewers watch video on a particular video host’s site (or at the very least via that video host’s player) lies in the fact that said video host can then insert advertisements that earn the host (and hopefully the video producer) revenue. So Blip’s recent change is very much about boosting engagement with ads by viewers. This also limits distribution options for content producers. This leads to the question: What business is Blip really in? Are they providing tools so that web video producers can build a following for their shows? Or are they a vehicle for brands to advertise? With the recent changes the answer is obviously the latter.

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Short Video Clips Hit The Big Time

Within the last few years a pair of startups, 12seconds.tv and Seesmic, attempted to popularize short videos as a method of communication on the web. Both of them ultimately failed. Seesmic pivoted (multiple times) away from video (and was eventually sold at a loss) while 12seconds.tv opted to shut down their operation. The founders and investors in both of those companies must be feeling a bit nostalgic (to put it mildly) as they watch short video sharing take off via Twitter ‘s Vine service and Facebook’s new Instagram video feature.

Earlier this year Twitter launched Vine, which has a six second video limit, as a separate service but also a complimentary service that made it easy to share videos on Twitter. Vine was starting to catch on and for the moment it appeared that Twitter had one upped Facebook on the media sharing front after Facebook had one upped Twitter by acquiring Instagram. Then in mid-June Facebook announced an video feature for Instagram with a fifteen second limit and some other nifty features including filters and very basic clip editing. Advantage Facebook.

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