Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Blip’s First Homegrown Web Show: Gamers vs. Gamers on “The Gauntlet”

Competition shows are a staple of reality TV: Watching chefs, designers and even reality stars battle each other is a good way to grab eyeballs without spending much money.

So here’s a reality TV competition show made for the Web: Blip’s “The Gauntlet,” which features … videogame players. Rooster Teeth, the guys best known for the Halo-based “Red vs. Blue” series, made the show. Geico sponsored it, and it kicks off tomorrow. (Update: Looks like Blip is down. Going to hope that it’s not Sandy-related, and that it’s fixed shortly.)

This is “branded entertainment” — that is, Geico foots the six-figure bill for the 10-episode series, and gets prominent placement in return.

That’s nothing new for Web video shops, which have been using the strategy for years. (It’s also the strategy that powered many of the earliest TV shows, for that matter).

But it’s still new for Blip, which has been trying to find its niche for a while. Blip is a small player in Web video, but then again everyone in Web video is small compared to YouTube and Google.

The New York-based company started out as a distribution network, then at one point tried turning itself into a destination site. Getting into original production is a new gambit, and it’s headed up by Steve Woolf, who heads Blip’s L.A. outpost.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work