Blip Networks, which operates Blip.tv, is raising more money. According to an SEC filing, the New York City company sold $6 million worth of stock beginning on December 22, 2011 in an offering that could expand to as much as $11.1 million. Presumably, this is part of a Series D offering, since Blip raised a $10 million Series C in May, 2010, almost 18 months ago. The total raised to date is now $24 million.
Blip is trying to become a destination for indie online videos. But it is becoming increasingly hard for any video site that is not Youtube to carve out a niche for itself. A quick glance at comScore and Quantcast shows that Blip.tv’s audience has been pretty much flat all year. ComScore estimates Blip.tv’s U.S. visitors at 1.4 million, down from 1.6 million in July. The Quantcast numbers show a similar trend line, with 1.1 million U.S. visitors and 2.4 million global (see chart above).
Blip has always been more of a distribution network to other video sites than a pure destination. It serves the top native Web video talent by giving them one place to manage all of their videos across the Web, including YouTube. The team there is talented and has been a fixture of the online video industry since its early days. But last Spring it made a big push to become more of a video destination site in its own right. It doesn’t appear that strategy is paying off.
Update 12/29: I spoke with COO Steve Brookstein this morning. He confirms that CEO and founder Mike Hudack is leaving the company, as was previously reported by Peter Kafka, but so is co-founder Dina Kaplan (as BetaBeat also covered). Brookstein is running the company as a search for a new CEO “steeped in digital media” continues. (Brookstein is from the cable industry and is more of an operator). The $6 million was an inside round by Blip.tv’s existing investors, Bain Capital and Canaan Partners, and the round is still open.
Brookstein says the attempt to become a destination site is “just one pillar of a multi-tier strategy.” Total video plays worldwide are tracking at 300 million amonth, with 70 million of those in Blip.tv’s own player (which is where it can serve ads—it’s main source of revenue). The company has 55 employees and is “exactly on our business plan,” says Brookstein. It is not yet cash-flow positive. “We decided to continue investing in the business,” he says. Stay tuned.