With Whipclip, TV viewers can create and share clips of favorite moments

Long-time L.A. tech entrepreneur Richard Rosenblatt launches his newest creation. It's called Whipclip

Justin Bieber jokes will flood the Internet Monday night when Comedy Central premieres a “roast” of the pop singer.

Unfortunately, most of the chatter will come via text even though sarcasm, vocal cadence and other keys to making a one-liner punch are best captured on video. It's just that videos of TV programming are tough to find on the fly. 

But a new mobile app from one of Los Angeles’ most successful technology entrepreneurs has set out to speed things up by striking deals with a number of television channels, including Comedy Central, to let viewers “clip” TV moments after they air.

Whipclip announced Thursday that the “Roast of Justin Bieber” would mark its first big partnership to see whether people desire the ability as much as Richard Rosenblatt.

The former chairman of MySpace and the co-founder of Internet firms Demand Media and iMall, Rosenblatt was watching the NFL playoffs last year at his home in Brentwood when Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman launched into a famous rant. To send a video of the scene to his family, Rosenblatt’s best option was waiting for an illegal copy to surface on YouTube.

The next day, Rosenblatt, a senior advisor at merchant bank The Raine Group, started Whipclip with Ori Birnbaum.

The app has a searchable library of about 100 shows from networks such as ABC, CBS and FOX as well as 10,000 music videos from Universal Music Group and Sony Music. That means users can clip both live and previously aired content. How long of a clip a user can make is determined by the content owner. For the roast, it’s 30 seconds. Those content owners also have the ability to take down user-generated clips they don’t like; a “panic button” was a key concession in getting access to live feeds.

The clips can be shared through text message, email, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest and eventually others. Rosenblatt said features like trending videos also might draw people to the app to see what’s on TV or what they missed the night before.

The start-up plans to generate revenue by charging content owners to “promote” a clip to advertise programming.

Whipclip has raised $20 million in venture capital from a start-studded list of investors including talent agency William Morris Endeavor, talent manager Scooter Braun, Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber and entertainment industry advisor Gordon Crawford.

Chat with me on Twitter @peard33




Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World