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Vimeo kills SVOD plan

Vimeo has killed the long-gestating plan to launch a subscription VOD service, and axed its content development team as a result.

Joey LevinThe IAC-owned video-sharing site had previously said it wanted to “follow in the footsteps of Netflix”, but those aspirations are now over.

“Vimeo has confirmed that it has decided not to proceed in offering a subscription-based original program service,” a spokesperson said.

Vimeo’s VP and head of original development, Alana Mayo, is leaving a consequence, along with director of content development Kesila Childers and director of content acquisitions Kelly Miller.

The trio had only been with Vimeo since March, with TBI revealing their hires at the time.

Mayo’s capture in particular turned heads, with the executive exiting a production VP post at Paramount Pictures to take on the post.

“This was a difficult decision – the idea of pursuing an SVOD service for Vimeo has always been intriguing, and I would have loved to see the incredibly talented Alana Mayo’s programming vision realised here at Vimeo,” said IAC CEO and Vimeo interim chief exec Joey Levin (pictured).

“She and her team are creative, sharp, risk-takers, and I believe will all, to a person, have an incredible future in programming, but the opportunity ahead for Vimeo to empower creators is too large and too important for us to attack with anything other than absolute focus and clarity.”

Vimeo has been signing transactional VOD deals since last year, and since Mayo’s hire has been looking at scripts as part of drive to create a subscription serviced stocked with originals.

The move slows the momentum of digital players pushing into original programming, and comes after Verizon decided to shelve plans to an AwesomenessTV-backed premium service.

However, Apple recently hired Sony Pictures Television co-presidents Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht for a push into originals, and Facebook was this was reported to be planning on a major run at commissioned programming.

The Wall Street Journal reported Facebook execs were willing to pay up to US$3 million per episode for high-end scripted programming, and that they had met Hollywood talent agencies in order to find projects aimed at 13-34s.

Amazon, Netflix and Hulu remain the biggest digital-first investors in original programming for the time being.