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The purchase of videocaster Blip.tv by YouTube network Maker Studios – announced this morning – may signal another step in the evolution of Google’s online video giant. That’s because the Time Warner- and venture capital-backed Maker could offer YouTube real competition for some audiences.

Maker had been looking for an outside-YouTube outlet for some time, and now it has a roof. Terms of the cash-and-stock deal, expected to close next month, are not public.

In this new venue, Maker’s programs can now get an ad revenue split better than the 45 percent cut YouTube takes. Of course, traffic on the struggling Blip is but a blip of YouTube’s, but unlike YouTube, it does have a dedicated ad sales team for video.

Like other traffic-heavy YouTube programmers, Maker has been looking for more ways to make money from its fans, a fact that should be making YouTube look in the mirror. Maker’s big draws include Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, Shay Carl, and Toby Turner, who help the multichannel network generate more than two billion video views monthly.

In a sign that online TV is growing up, there’s even a bit of star drama awaiting. Ex-Maker star Ray William Johnson angrily left the studio last year for Blip, but he’s now back in the fold, at least temporarily.

It’s not yet clear if Blip CEO Kelly Day will remain in that job, although reports indicate she will get some kind of position at Maker. Blip has been undergoing its own evolution, slimming down from hundreds of thousands of programming choices to only about a few thousand.

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