I originally noticed this story on The Hollywood Reporter, but they left out many of the specific details that the official Vimeo blog covers. This an interesting move for Vimeo and can ultimately serve to make it much more appealing to people producing video content. It does build off of the existing Vimeo On Demand service — what? You didn’t know about that either?
Vimeo On Demand premiered two years ago, and I finally recalled it when I started reading about it. It is/was a storefront for paying for individual videos — either by “renting” them, or by “buying” them. The person paying got access to the video in any Vimeo client signed in to their service, though you couldn’t purchase in every app (like YouTube on the Apple TV). Creators had granular control over how the work was presented, how much they charged, and how long rental windows were. However, it was another storefront, and many of the things there were either available through other storefronts, or not worth singing in to pay for. It was just as unappealing as I remember it being.
This subscription changes things because no one else is offering anything like it. It’s not a subscription for all of Vimeo, which gets divvied up between all the Vimeo content creators, it’s a subscription only to the relevant content creator. The money goes directly to the people that give me what I want, and those people keep 90% of it. If they stop making what I want, I can cancel my subscription for them without affecting my other Vimeo subscriptions. This is sort of like Patreon, in a way, except instead of paying Patreon, and going somewhere else to watch what you pay for, it’s right there.
Video creators can still make certain videos free, or available for rent or purchase, in addition to being available for subscribers. That’s a good way to get people to discover a show and sign up for a month.
In a way, the a la carte nature also hurts Vimeo, and video creators, because people are going to weigh the cost of subscribing more carefully than they would with an ad-supported service like YouTube.
Maybe something new will grow from this petri dish of experimental stuff, with this broth of financial tools.