Vimeo’s iOS app gets a big makeover aimed at improving discovery

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Vimeo, the video network and underdog to the global behemoth that is YouTube, has given its iOS application a massive redesign today aimed at making it easier to upload, discover and play videos. A key part of the revamp involves new, cleaner navigation combined with an element of human curation to the network’s content, which now sees videos organized into various categories like Music, Animation, Travel, Documentary and more.

The move comes at a time when Vimeo has been investing more in original content, including scripted series, comedies, dramas, and other short films. Unlike on YouTube, many of Vimeo’s creators are producing films and series, not videoblogs. That’s something that has differentiated it from YouTube in the past, though with YouTube Red, the Google-owned video network is expanding the quality of its originals to also include movies and scripted series.

As Vimeo’s library of originals continues to grow, it makes sense that its app would need a way to better highlight this content, which is where the new categorization comes in. Vimeo will now surface video recommendations on the mobile app, featuring the best videos across 16 different genres.

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In addition to making it easier to find videos, Vimeo has given its player a makeover, too. It will now point users to other recommended videos, similar to YouTube. Viewers will also be able to comment and share videos, as well as watch in picture-in-picture mode on iOS 9. The latter feature allows users to watch a video while also browsing through other parts of the application.

For video creators, the upload experience has been modified to make the process faster and easier, while still offering all the privacy options available on the desktop. This change is aimed at growing Vimeo’s library with uploads from a broader base of creators, including those who shoot more casual videos on their smartphones.

With the update, live today on iOS, the app has been optimized to take advantage of the newest features of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 9. This includes support picture-in-picture viewing and integration with iOS 9’s Spotlight Search.

While YouTube has only recently moved away from the ad-supported model with the launch of its ad-free subscription service, YouTube Red, Vimeo has historically had an aversion to ads, instead aiming to focus on paid content and other subscription services for pro users.

Vimeo today has over 45 million users and 213 million monthly uniques, the company says. The iOS update follows a similar revamp on Android in December, which also included the introduction of categories as well as support for Chromecast.

The updated app is live now on the iOS App Store as a free download.