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Blip chops off its “.tv” branding with a $12M investment sword

Blip SwordIndie streaming video startup Blip.tv announced today that it will ditch the “.tv” from its name in the first of many steps to refresh and improve the company. Blip has also secured a $12 million round of funding to help see those improvement efforts through.

“Our research actually showed that people didn’t really identify web series as associated with television, so dropping the ‘.tv’ from the brand just made sense,” said Blip COO Steve Brookstein in an interview with VentureBeat. “It also fits in line with what we’re doing with the site overall.

The majority of people familiar with Blip probably still view it as a much smaller competitor of YouTube and Vimeo. And while Blip certainly falls into the same streaming video category, it’s evolved into something more distinct. For instance, Blip doesn’t cater to uploading random user-generated videos that don’t have a common theme or purpose. In other words, there aren’t any “fat grandpa plays show tunes with his nose hairs”-type clips.

Instead, the site is focused on becoming the number one place people go to watch original, “episodic” web shows, such as Red vs. Blue, Red Letter Media, CBR TV, and Annoying Orange. By eliminating all of the viral video noise found on other video sites, the best produced content gets a chance to promote itself by emphasizing things like a backlog of episodes, official website links, social media accounts, online merchandise store, and more.

Web show producers also have more of an incentive to push their content through Blip. For example, using the site’s HTML5 video player, show producers can embed their content into other websites for playback on desktop computers and iOS and Android mobile devices. Blip videos also get distributed across a variety of platforms, including (but not limited to) Google TV, LG, Tivo, Boxee, YouTube, Roku, Vizio, and iTunes. This amounts to an average of 13 million unique domestic visitors per month (30 million global) and 330 million video views per month, Blip claims. About 70 million video views per month are monetized, which is far less than what YouTube is able to deliver. However, Blip does offers web show producers a much better advertising revenue split, so it’s possible they’ll make more money despite the lower number of monetized video views.

Brookstein said Blip intends to use the new funding to improve the tools and services available to web show producers, like making the Analytics dashboard more detailed. The startup also plans to use the new capital to further develop its content distribution and advertising platforms.

The new $12 million round includes investment from Bain Capital, Canaan Partners, and existing investors as well as debt from Silicon Valley Bank. This round also includes the $6 million investment reported in December. The New York City-based startup previously closed a $5.2 million round in 2008 and a $10.1 million round in 2010. Blip has raised a total $30.3 million in funding to date.

[Sword image via ShutterStock]

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