Independent Web Show Distributor, blip.tv, Raises $10.1 Million in Third Funding Round

--Revision3 to Launch New Show Starring Magician, Penn Jillette

blip.tv, a New York-based distributor of independent Web shows, said Wednesday that it has closed its third round of institutional capital, raising $10.1 million in new funding. The funding round was led by Canaan Partners, and saw the participation of existing investor, Bain Capital Ventures. blip.tv's first funding round, which was concluded in 2007, raised $2.5 million, and its second funding round, concluded in 2008, raised $5.2 million.

The company says that it will use the new funding to accelerate the growth of the independent Web shows that it hosts and distributes, expand its content services team, continue to grow its international advertising sales force, and develop new products both for its producer clients and its viewers. "blip.tv turns five this year, and I couldn't be happier with our success to date and our growth plans for the future," blip.tv co-founder and CEO, Mike Hudack, said in a prepared statement. "We started in 2005 with a simple mission: to change the entertainment industry by making independent show production sustainable and scalable. We're moving on to the next phase of executing against that mission, and with help from both Canaan Partners and Bain Capital Ventures I'm confident that we'll be successful. We're making more shows sustainable every single day, and now we're going to accelerate that change even faster. This is an extremely exciting time."

According to blip.tv, over 44,000 independent show producers visit its blip.tv show creator dashboard every day, in order to review statistics, engage with their viewer communities, manage their shows, and release new episodes across its distribution network. The company claims that the shows it distributes attract over 90 million video views per month, and that 85% of those views are paired with targeted, direct-sold advertising from such brands as PepsiCo, Chevrolet, Samsung, Starbucks, AT&T and Scion. "We've been following blip.tv's growth for years, and we're excited to invest in the company as it continues to change the entertainment industry," Warren Lee, venture partner at Canaan Partners, said in a prepared statement. "blip.tv has executed on its vision, and the company is creating a new Web television industry that is drawing top talent from traditional television networks, the film industry and garages across America. We look forward to working with Mike and his team to continue transforming entertainment together."

In an interview with Paid Content, blip.tv's Hudack attributed the company's ability to survive what have been a difficult couple of years for purveyors of original Web programming in part to its focus on the connected TV space, which has seen it sign distribution deals with such partners as Boxee, Roku, Sony Bravia and TiVo. He also cited the fact that the programs it distributes tend to be longer than most Web programs (14 minutes long, on average--thus approaching the 22 minute average length of traditional "half-hour" TV shows), which he said makes them more attractive to advertisers.

In related news: Revision3 said Wednesday that it is partnering with magician, Penn Jillette, on a show entitled "Penn Point" (revision3/pennpoint) that will premiere May 24th, with new episodes released Monday through Thursday weekly. "Penn Point will cover a spectrum of topics from politics, celebrities, popular culture and technology that is sweeping the nation...anything top of mind for Penn as well as the general public," Revision3 says in its press materials for the new show. "For its first week, Penn will focus on topics including Seth MacFarlane and the Tea Party, a brand new Penn and Teller trick, and his thoughts on the iPad. Each program will run three to seven minutes in a continuous rant-like format that has Penn ruminating and analyzing any particular topic."

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