Video distribution platform Vimeo wants to provide new ways for creators to make more money from their content. A few years after launching a video on demand offering so creators could rent out or sell access to their videos, the company will now let them charge for monthly subscriptions to their libraries of content.
For years Vimeo has positioned itself as an alternative to YouTube and other video distribution platforms, touting a beautiful HD video player that isn’t weighed down with ads or various related content for users to be distracted by. In turn that attracted artists, documentary makers and the like who hoped to show off their videos in the best light.
Vimeo’s aversion to ads meant the company needed to make money in other ways. It started out by offering more storage and other tools for creators who wanted to distribute their content on the platform.
In 2013, Vimeo made steps to help creators monetize their content by offering a platform for selling access to individual videos. Video owners could set their own prices for one-time rentals or for purchases, with Vimeo taking just a 10 percent cut of all sales that take place on its platform.
Over the last two years, the Vimeo On Demand product has found wide adoption from creators on the platform. According to Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor, Vimeo now has thousands of sellers and more than 20,000 individual titles for sale.
“Ads are presumed to be the only business model that would ever work for online video,” Trainor said. “We’re of the firm belief that online is entering a second phase, where paid content is where things are going to go.”
Now with five different currencies supported, Vimeo On Demand has had viewers in 125 different countries pay for content on the platform. And with half a million viewers purchasing content and 600,000 creators paying for access to its creative tools, Vimeo touts more than a million customers overall.
But the product wasn’t perfect for everyone. In particular, viewers would have to pay huge amounts of money to access all the videos of creators with large video libraries or those who produced new videos on the regular. For those creators, the company will now offer the ability to create subscription video-on-demand channels.
With subscription VOD, creators can still set their own prices for access to content and they’ll still get 90 percent of all revenues booked each month. The service will also offer the ability to window access by geography, analyze subscriber data, and grow their audiences through the platform.
Vimeo isn’t the only company to launch subscription-based services for digital-first video creators. Former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar launched a subscription video service called Vessel that enables users to subscribe and gain access to a large number of videos several days before they launch on other platforms. And New York-based VHX recently launched tools enabling creators to launch their own subscription video-on-demand services.
Unlike Vessel, Vimeo’s subscription revenue is tied to a creator’s individual channel, as opposed to just a portion of all aggregate subscription revenues based on viewership. And it differentiates from VHX by providing discovery tools amongst creators and viewers who show up to Vimeo.com.