YouTube has been good to a lot of amateur filmmakers and video creators. It's given many of them a distribution platform, social and marketing tools, monetization options, legions of fans, and even serious profit. But apparently... there's still a lot that YouTube can't do for video stars. Blip.tv has announced a partnership deal with The Collective--an entertainment media management and production firm--that will bring several well-known YouTube stars into the Blip.tv family.
The Collective is home to some of the most famous YouTube stars, including success stories like iJustine, Annoying Orange, Freddie Wong, and Fred. And while they've all enjoyed levels of success that most YouTube users would be jealous of---heck, Fred even had a major motion picture already--there are things they are looking for in their career that simply can't be fulfilled by YouTube in its current state.
At least, that's what I'm assuming. Why else would The Collective make a move like this? Indeed, there do appear to be features and bonuses these stars will receive by working within the Blip.tv network, like new advertising and monetization options, analytics, new distribution channels, and even a custom standalone video site for each star. Of course, there's some nice revenue sharing stuff in the deal as well, meaning they'll be able to make even more money from their videos.
Let's be clear about one thing: These video celebrities are not leaving YouTube. In fact, according to the article, the impact on the existing fans should be about zero. The videos and channels and comments will stay right there on YouTube and will continue to. So the Blip.tv deal is more about adding on to what these stars have built with YouTube than taking over for it.
In addition to appearing on the Blip.tv home page (iJustine is already being featured there, see the image below), these shows will also now be available through the Roku Internet-tv device, through the Verizon On Demand network, and more.
What Does It All Mean?
It means that, for all the benefits YouTube brings an aspiring video star, there are still limitations to what one can do with the service. That doesn't mean all creators will need to expand into new distribution platforms, the way The Collective's shows are doing. But many will. At least... until YouTube is able to match this kind of broad-ranging service like Blip.tv is offering.
And, of course, I think we should expect to see YouTube do just that. After all, they're fairly public about their desire to improve user content and get viewers watching longer, right? What better way to do that than to continue to nurture the best and brightest stars with new options, tools, and services?
As for the stars themselves, I think this is another sign of growing up. They're no longer just YouTube stars (not that they were only that to begin with), they're entertainers. A move like this to work with Blip.tv demonstrates a lot of maturity with regard to how they think about their careers.