There’s a lot of talk about how social media has become the new watercooler for discussing TV’s funny, crazy, or otherwise memorable moments. What’s been more hit-or-miss, however, is finding the actual footage that everyone’s talking about.
Sure, networks are putting more and more clips online, but it’s still only a fraction of what’s actually broadcast. Even when networks post something, the clips might not go live until hours or days after the broadcast. And yes, people find more, uh, creative ways to share this content, but I don’t actually enjoy watching a YouTube video of someone pointing their iPhone camera at their TV screen.
So a startup called Whipclip is launching an iPhone app of the same name today that makes it easy and legal to find and share some of your favorite TV clips. (There are plans for an Android app, too.)
As COO Dan Brian put it, “The time is right for a better solution for clipping,” because TV networks are becoming more comfortable sharing their footage, while video in general is taking off on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Brian gave me a demo of the app a couple of weeks ago. The focus, he said, is on live TV — the moment when something happens on-screen that makes you say, “Whoa, people need to see this.” The company is constantly recording live content from its partners (more on those partners in a second), so you can just open the app, choose your show from the list of what’s playing now, and create a clip from the last two minutes of footage. Then you can share that clip within the app, as well as on social networks.
Those of you who are watching time-delayed or on-demand TV aren’t being left out, though. You can also create clips of shows that aren’t airing right at that second — you find the right moment by searching the show’s closed captioning. And you can create clips from music videos, too.
Whipclip is led by CEO and co-founder Richard Rosenblatt, who previously co-founded Demand Media, and it raised a $20 million round of funding last year. The round included some big names from the media world, including talent agency William Morris Endeavor, famed agent Ari Emanuel, movie exec/Dodgers co-owner Peter Guber, and NFL Network CEO Steve Bornstein.
Those connections probably helped Whipclip sign up its impressive group of initial content partners, including Comedy Central, ABC, CBS, FOX, VH1, A&E and Lifetime, Bloomberg, OWN, truTV, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music. Brian acknowledged that some of those partners see this as an experiment, and are only giving Whipclip access to a few shows to start — even so, there’s a long list of included programs, such as Bob’s Burgers, Castle, Charlie Rose, Dancing With The Stars, The Late Late Show With James Corden, NCIS: Los Angeles, New Girl, and Once Upon A Time.
The app launch was timed to coincide with next week’s Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber (scheduled for Monday, March 30, at 10pm), which should generate lots of hilarious and/or cringeworthy moments ready-made for social media sharing.