Today is the debut of Vessel, the startup platform that aims to upset YouTube’s domination of the online video space. A few months ago when Vessel was first unveiled, I noted that they were going to need to recruit a lot of digital star power up front if they wanted to knock YouTube off its throne. Vessel CEO and former Hulu exec Jason Killar came out of the gate promising creators payouts up to twenty times higher than they were receiving on YouTube in exchange for bringing their content to the start-up first.
The not-so secret sauce to make it work would be blended payouts that mixed old school ad-revenue with additional cash from paid subscriptions. It’s a good idea in theory, but in order for it to work Vessel would need to sell a lot of subscriptions, and in order to do that they’d need to recruit a huge number of top shelf creators and sign them to exclusive deals. It looks like they may have done just that.
Today the company released a list of the creators who would be participating in the launch that reads like a who’s who of YouTube stars. From popular vloggers like Glozell Green and Tre Melvin to gaming superstars like Seananners and Syndicate, Vessel has ensured that plenty of big names will be debuting their videos on Vessel first. Others, like Shane Dawson, Connor Franta, Ingrid Nilsen and Brittani Louise Taylor will premiere videos on Vessel before they go live on YouTube, giving hardcore fans an added reason to migrate to the site. While some creators, like Discovery owned Phillip DeFranco, opted not to take the Vessel-first route, they’ll still be posting new content to Vessel’s subscriptionless ad-supported site at the same time they place them on YouTube.
It’s an impressive roster which will certainly draw fans to the platform. YouTube’s greatest asset, aside from its Google-sized resources, has always been its homegrown community of creators. Whether fans will be willing to pay for a subscription to content they’re used to getting for free remains to be seen, and we may have to wait a bit longer to find out. Vessel is offering a free year-long subscription to anyone who signs up in the first 24 hours, no credit card required. What is clear is that Vessel is getting a big push from creators and that push will likely result in a big crop of early adopters. If those early adopters make enough noise to draw paying subscribers into the fold in large numbers, then Vessel may be well on its way to becoming the preferred destination for web creators.
Whether Vessel ultimately sinks or soars remains to be seen, but one thing is clear. As founders Jason Killar and Richard Tom say in their statement introducing the new platform, “We are entering a second era of web video.” YouTube has never lacked for competitors — shortform video sites like Vimeo and DailyMotion have existed for years, and while they’ve carved out niches for themselves they’ve done little to upset YouTube’s dominance. Now that the site and its stars are breaking into the mainstream, it’s likely the Vessel won’t be the last high powered startup we see attempt to steal YouTube’s thunder. Armed with the stars that YouTube has nurtured over the years, it might even succeed.
Head To The Next Page For A Full List of Creators and Channels Joining Vessel