Blip to publishers: we’re going to monetize your videos, whether you like it or not

Video hosting site Blip has come up with a new way to make more money with advertising: The site, which has been specializing on web-exclusive serialized content, is going to turn on preroll advertising by default for all of the content hosted on its site in early April. Blip shares its ad revenue 50/50 with publishers.
Publishers will have an opportunity to opt out of ads for up to five videos in order to keep short clips and trailers ad-free, but after that, all fo their videos will be preceded by preroll ads. The changes were announced a few days ago in an email to producers that read, in part:

“Blip’s mission is to be the place to discover the best in original web series. We support this mission by selling advertising against the content that you, the Blip Producer community, create and upload. The technology and bandwidth required to deliver your shows to a wide audience is paid for by advertising, similar to television.”

Blip's previous ad policy: prerolls were entirely voluntary.

Blip’s previous ad policy: prerolls were entirely voluntary (click for a full-size view).

That’s a notable change from Blip’s previous take on advertising. The company described its advertising program in the past as “entirely voluntary,” noting on a still-active support page that producers “can use almost all Blip services without accepting advertising.”
The email now sent out to Blip’s producers tries to quell fears that ads could drive audiences away:

“We know that for some long-time Blip producers running advertising on your content will be unsettling. Rest assured that all of the available data in the market shows that audiences have become acclimated to pre-roll ads. In many cases, a prominent brand in front of an episode actually increases the perceived value of the show.”

Blip started out as a video hosting site that competed directly with YouTube, (s GOOG) and changed its course two years ago to focus exclusively on serialized content made for the web. The company distributes content to a variety of platforms, and opened a studio in Los Angeles to produce its own content last summer.