Clippit, an app that creates video clips up to 30 seconds long from live television, was designed to make it easier for sports fans to share favorite moments on social media.
With Clippit, fans can share a video just seconds after the event was broadcast on TV. There is an option to attach a caption and then share it on Twitter, Facebook or within the Clippit community.
Ronald Yaros, an associate professor in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at University of Maryland, said Clippit is an "invaluable" tool for sports fans because of its efficiency. It eliminates the middle step of needing a link to view the video.
The ability to clip videos seconds after a play happens and to spread news from user-to-user allows more serious sports fans to influence more casual fans.
"If you're a marginal sports fan, you’re probably not going to care what the NFL or the MLB does or sends you or prints anywhere," Clippit CEO Jim Long said. "But when a friend sends you something from the NFL or the MLB, now you're much more likely to look at it."
In a world where people upload recordings of live TV taken with the camera on their smartphones, Long said video quality is low and attribution to media companies is almost nonexistent.
Clippit solved both of those problems, allowing users to share high-quality clips, while affiliating the video with the media company that provided the content.
Long said the founders of Clippit wanted to “come up with a service that provides a better tool for users to express themselves than what they have with just a shaky phone and a DVR."
Aside from negotiating with certain media companies, whose names he did not disclose, Long said any other copyright issues are covered under fair use. The reproduction of content in 30-second clips is legal for users to circulate among friends because of how short the video is compared to the length of the entire show.
While Long expects fans to share videos of touchdowns and other big plays, he believes odd events will be more widely clipped by users. Long said Clippit users widely shared and commented on the Oakland Raiders nearly blowing their first win of the 2014 season against the Kansas City Chiefs.
After starting the season 0-10, the Raiders closed in on their first win Nov. 20 with a fourth-quarter sack on Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith. Raiders linebacker Sio Moore celebrated his sack, which occurred third down, by sprinting downfield. Moore was 13 yards before the line of scrimmage when Smith tried to get the ball snapped on fourth down. It would have been an offsides penalty on the Raiders, but fortunately for them, Justin Tuck had called a timeout before the Chiefs could get a play off.
"That’s the kind of event that’s really cool to clip," Long said. "The touchdowns, the interceptions, they’ll be fun, but the odd stuff that happens, where you might not necessarily find that right away on the NFL site."
According to Yaros, most news organizations list 26 seconds as the average time that videos will engage viewers but emphasized that the video alone cannot engage users fully.
"If you can tell me what I’m about to view on the video, it will definitely perhaps engage me, maybe get me to click that video to watch it," Yaros said. “We do still have to entice the viewer to engage with the video."
Clippit practically markets itself because users share content with other users constantly spreading news and the use of the app as a social tool.
Reiterating Clippit's relationship with sports, Long gave an example how the spread of information via video from user-to-user can help market the app and the media content shared: "By fans talking to non-fans you have a much better probability of converting them into fans."
After building a user base, the next steps are expanding Clippit into newer markets and monetizing the app. Exactly how the expansion will affect sports fans, the sports market, and the spread of sports coverage is being kept under wraps.
"It's a little tricky to monetize short clips," Long said. "So that will be one of our secret sauces. How do we monetize this user ability, share that revenue with media companies, and do it all in a way that keeps consumers happy?"