Video distribution company Vimeo is seeking to add more exclusive content to its platform, offering some independent filmmakers a $10,000 advance to make their movies available online through Vimeo On Demand. The offer for direct distribution sales will be available to films premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival this week.
Vimeo has always been known as a sort of art-house YouTube, where artsy video creators uploaded their content, thanks partly to the availability of high-def playback and a clean, well-lit environment for browsing and navigating content. That attracted a lot of content creators who frankly just wanted a nice video playback experience for the HD videos they shot.
But recently, Vimeo has sought to provide more ways for content creators to monetize their videos, rolling out a distribution platform that enables filmmakers to go direct-to-fan and make their videos available on-demand to viewers for a fee.
In an effort to lure new video producers on board, Vimeo offered what is more or less an industry-best 90-10 revenue split with those who uploaded videos to the platform. So far, that’s attracted a catalog of about 2,000 titles that can be viewed on demand.
Now, Vimeo is looking to not only boost that number, but acquire some hot indie content that is being debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. As part of its offer to filmmakers, it’s promising an advance of $10,000 for any film that had its world premiere at the festival.
In exchange, Vimeo gets to be the exclusive distributor of those films online or on other digital platforms for 30 days, or until the film makes back its advance — whichever comes first. After that, filmmakers are free to sell the film on iTunes, license to Netflix or Amazon, or make their movies available wherever they want online.
It’s important to note that Vimeo only has exclusive rights for on-demand digital sales, so filmmakers are free to pursue theatrical distribution if they wish. They can also set their own prices and viewing format (rental or purchase) on the Vimeo platform — so long as those prices are above $4.99.
And while Vimeo keeps exclusive digital rights for 30 days — which really isn’t a very long time in the film community — part of the deal is that the filmmakers agree to keep their movies on the Vimeo platform non-exclusively for two years in total.
For Vimeo, the offer is designed to bring in a range of new, highly acclaimed indie film content — which it hopes will attract even more users to its transactional video service. But for filmmakers, Vimeo hopes to provide a new direct-to-fan distribution channel, with more than 100 million monthly uniques viewing its content across a wide range of devices.