The IAC-owned video site launched Vimeo On Demand a year ago, allowing creators to charge for access to their content. It then offered $10,000 advances for exclusive distribution rights to films at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall, and announced a $500,000 program for crowdfunded films at Sundance in January.
Greg Clayman, Vimeo’s general manager for audience networks, said there’s been “a tremendous response” to these initial efforts, with “hundreds of films” signed up. He characterized the new fund as a “further expansion” of those initiatives. That means Vimeo will continue to pay for films that succeeded in raising $10,000 or more via crowdfunding, and for films that premiered at one of the “20 leading global films festivals.” Vimeo also says it will invest in “quality individual titles and catalogs suited to Vimeo’s unique audience.”
The $10 million will include cash payments, as well as other services like website development and translation.
Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor said that while he expects “the ad-based ecosystem” (i.e., sites like YouTube) to continue, but he also sees “a huge undeveloped opportunity for paid distribution,” which Vimeo is trying to take advantage of with this investment.
The site says it had 168 million unique viewers in January, an all-time high and up 80 percent year-over-year.