It's another infusion of web-originated shows for TiVo and a small narrowing of the web-to-TV chasm for Blip.tv, one of the biggest distributors of a growing category of entertainment: indie web series created on budgets of $10,000 or less.
The deal allows Blip.tv to rotate top-performing shows through the service, which has 4.2 million subscribers, and test whether the genre has legs off the PC.
Earlier this year, Blip.tv started syndicating shows through Verizon's Fios and Sony's Bravia Internet Video Link. Last week, Blip.tv started encoding its shows to work on Apple's iPhone; it's the first major web distributor other than YouTube to do so. The TiVo deal will give Blip.tv access to DirecTV and Comcast subscribers.
But do TV-scale audiences await? And will advertisers respond? Andrea Kerr Redniss, managing director at Optimedia, sees the shows as opportunities to do product integrations on the cheap. "What's confusing to advertisers and agencies is the plethora of content out there," she said. "Right now it's difficult to judge one over another and what you'll get out of it."
Top shows can get 1 million to 1.5 million viewers a month, but shows that target desirable demographics can be in business at 30,000 to 50,000 views a month.
Overall, shows distributed by Blip.tv average 55 million views a month, spread across thousands of videos it distributes to Yahoo, MSN, MySpace and iTunes. Blip.tv takes a 50-50 share of revenue on the ads it sells for shows it represents and a fee for shows it distributes with advertising already attached.
Ad rates for spots sold by the network are generally low. An $8 cost per thousand for an overlay ad is common, but integrations with sponsors can push that past $80.