Vimeo is taking unconventional steps in order to help their creators turn a profit. In a blog post released earlier today, Vimeo announced that they are rolling out six full-length films to kick off their new pay-to-view service. The six films can now be purchased on Vimeo and viewed “on any compatible device,” which pretty much means smartphones, tablets, connected devices, etc.
Introducing pay-to-view is a huge gamble for Vimeo filmmakers, as audiences have grown accustomed to getting most of their content for free. It seems that by releasing six full-length films for their maiden voyage, Vimeo is trying to urge creators to enable pay-to-view for
full-length or equal quality work.
Vimeo staffer Jeremy Boxer writes in the post, “Our new pay-to-view service enables creators to upload and distribute work that they depend on for their livelihood, all with easy setup and affordable rates. In turn, our community gets access to amazing work from the world’s leading filmmakers.”
As pay-to-view rolls out for all creators in early 2013, Vimeo will be drawing a clear line between themselves and YouTube. From their dual inceptions, YouTube and Vimeo have been seen as rival video-sharing services. YouTube, of course, came out the clear winner financially. However, Vimeo, in their “loss” to YouTube, gained a community of serious independent filmmakers. Pay-to-view will only attract more actual filmmakers and discourage the types of vlogging and parodying found on YouTube.
In 2013, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Vimeo began shifting towards a full independent film distribution platform. Video sharing has worked fine for Vimeo, but their real strength exists in the independent and trusted community of filmmakers they have cultivated.