Last month we told you about Vessel, a new subscription video service being launched by the early team behind Hulu. After a month-long creator preview, the service is being made available in private beta to some lucky folks who signed up for its waiting list.
Vessel, which was founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar and CTO Richard Tom, hopes to increase monetization for online video creators. It plans to do so by introducing the same type of windowing and dual revenue streams to online video that have existed for traditional media for decades.
The service will charge consumers a small subscription fee — $2.99 per month — for early access to videos from some of their favorite creators from YouTube and other online video sites. The pitch to creators is that Vessel will help them make more money than they previously got from making their videos available on free, ad-supported sites.
Vessel CEO Jason Kilar estimates that creators on average make about $2.20 per thousand views today, but believes that through a mix of subscription revenue and high-value ads, they could get CPMs of about $50 through its service. All Vessel asks is that it gets exclusive access to those videos for at least 72 hours, and then creators can do with them as they wish.
Over the past several months, Vessel has been courting creators and has gotten a fair number to sign up. After releasing its creator preview of the service last month, it’s nabbed even more, including Brittani Louise Taylor, Connor Franta, Nerdist Industries, Jimmy Tatro, Tanya Burr, Roman Atwood, Arden Rose, and Jack Vale.
Vessel will make videos from those creators available to subscribers online and through iPhone and iPad apps that are being launched today. It hopes to have an Android app soon, and also expects to be available through a wide range of connected TV devices.
For now, consumers will only be able to get access to Vessel if they’ve been invited to test out the service. However, the company expects to gradually open up to more viewers over time — after all, its business kind of depends on it.