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Clips from Comedy Central’s Justin Bieber roast have already generated millions of views on YouTube, and the cable network expects even more engagement around the special when it airs March 30. So ahead of the broadcast, it has partnered with a startup called Whipclip to make sharing clips even easier for fans.
Whipclip launches Thursday, March 26, as a free mobile app that allows people to access a live feed of TV shows currently airing on TV to legally clip and share with their friends. In addition to Comedy Central, Whipclip has partnerships with ABC, CBS, Fox, VH1, A&E, Lifetime and more. The company is also working with Universal Music Group and Sony Music to make their library of music videos clippable.
The Bieber roast marks the first televised event in which Whipclip will be a partner. Comedy Central will promote the app during its pre-show and will also offer video of its past roasts within the Whipclip app for people to share. “We know fans love sharing clips,” says Comedy Central CMO Walter Levitt. “Giving fans the opportunity to share clips in real time is great for the fans and great for us.”
Whipclip, the brainchild of former Demand Media CEO Richard Rosenblatt and RayV co-founder Ori Birnbaum, was created to give TV audiences an easier way to immediately share their favorite moments across social media. Using Whipclip, a person can access the feed of a show airing live on TV to immediately grab a clip of a moment that just aired.
Rosenblatt explains that the conversations happening on Twitter and Facebook about TV would be improved if they included videos to demonstrate what people are talking about. He points to tweets sent during the Oscars that make little sense unless someone is following along with the broadcast at home.
With more than 100 TV shows and 10,000 music videos currently available, Whipclip covers many popular series — including New Girl, Last Man on Earth and Dancing with the Stars — and music videos from top artists such as Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. But while the company’s slate is small at launch, it has a team led by former Hulu originals head Charlotte Koh devoted to acquiring content.
Hollywood has long balked at the rampant sharing of illegally obtained clips on video platforms such as YouTube. But Rosenblatt says he wanted to make the sharing of clips easy and legal for fans, explaining that it gives the rights holders free marketing for their shows. Whipclip gives content providers access to tools that limit what part of their shows can be clipped, in case, for example, they don’t want a major spoiler to be shared. “Media companies understand that now that the technology is here, they can share clips and protect them,” Rosenblatt says. “They’re already sharing their own clips. Now, this is a way to create a lot more clips.”
It helps, too, that the company is backed by a number of Hollywood power players, including WME, Ziffren Brittenham, Ari Emanuel, Peter Guber, Steve Bornstein and Scooter Braun.
“We immediately saw that Whipclip would fill a need in the marketplace,” says WME-IMG COO Jason Lublin. “It’s a great way for our artists to gain additional exposure with high-quality, shareable videos. Beyond that, it’s also a terrific benefit for consumers and a simple, effective way for our content partners to increase engagement on social media platforms.”
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