NBCUniversal told members of Bluprint in May that it was planning to wind down the subscription VOD service centered on crafts and hobbies “over the next few months.”
Instead, the media company is selling the assets of Bluprint to TN Marketing, a Minneapolis-based online video subscription and streaming business. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Bluprint originally launched as Craftsy in 2011. The company was acquired by NBCU in 2017, which renamed it a year later as Bluprint and changed the model from selling a la carte videos to a subscription service with more than 3,000 hours of instructional videos at $15 per month.
When Bluprint CEO John Levisay, one of Cratfsy’s co-founders, notified members that the service was closing down, members grew concerned that they would lose access to classes they’ve already purchased. With the agreement, TN Marketing “has agreed to honor previous customer purchases for classes and subscriptions and will preserve your access to Bluprint content,” Levisay wrote in a message posted Wednesday on the website.
“Bluprint is a natural fit as part of TN Marketing’s portfolio of online communities,” said Cal Franklin, CEO and president of TN Marketing. Together, TN Marketing and Bluprint have sold over 17 million classes to an estimated 3.5 million customers and owns over 4,000 hours of instructional video content.
Added TN Marketing’s Jim Kopp, EVP and GM of digital business, “Our team is focused on continuing the excitement, enthusiasm and loyalty that the Bluprint community, instructors, designers and content creators enjoyed since its Craftsy days.”
With the acquisition of Bluprint, TN Marketing operates 12 online communities, including National Sewing Circle, Woodworkers Guild of America, Get Healthy U TV, Outdoor Photography Guide and RV Repair Club.
Bluprint has Closed. (but Craftsy is back!)
As I write this story, it is May of 2020, and we remain in the middle of what we refer to as the great pandemic. For the past few months, most of us have been at home. Everything we know and love has been closed, temporarily we hope. During this time of being home, we turned to streaming and hobbies to help pass the hours. (as I update this story it’s the end of December 2020, and it doesn’t feel like much has really changed.)
Consider this an update about the closing of Bluprint. Also consider it an update on the future of Craftsy.
The headline really does say it all.
After the NBCUniversal acquisition, Craftsy quickly began to change. They started to add non-craft-related content such as gardening and woodworking –which are great pastimes too but the focus went away from sewing in this attempt to appeal to this broader audience. Because of this new, wider focus, the color scheme for the site changed from a lively pink and pastel format to something obviously conceived by a corporate committee.. dark blue and black.. if you can believe it, presumably to be more neutral. At the same time, staff numbers at Bluprint climbed to something like 130 which is hard to sustain from a website.
Bluprint eventually saw the light and relented in this push to subscriptions only by again allowing the “buy and own forever” model but the damage was done.
Well, its finally happened. First, it was Craftsy, now Bluprint. Formally known as Craftsy, Bluprint has closed its doors forever.
Prior to the acquisition, Craftsy had been a terrific platform that allowed independent creators such as ourselves to distribute patterns both paid and free. The focus of the site was purely crafts and mainly sewing which was terrific. They produced high-quality instructional videos and classes and these often complimented and even supported patterns posted by independent creators. There was a great sense of community, everyone knew everyone, and Craftsy grew from nothing to a pretty large platform.
However, the real death of the platform started in 2018 when they tried to force everyone onto monthly subscriptions. Prior to that, the site had been extremely popular since, users could buy individual classes on a topic or project that interested them and supposedly own that class forever with nothing else to pay. The new Bluprint model was to try to get users to pay each and every month for access to the service. You can obviously see why they would prefer this, but users absolutely hated it and traffic to the site dropped rapidly.
Are blueprint and Craftsy the same?
What happened to all my Craftsy classes?
What happened blueprint?