Television Business International

Vimeo to launch subscription video offering

Vimeo_OD_grab2Vimeo has announced plans to launch a subscription video offering on top of its existing service, in an effort to “take a share of the $500 billion TV and film market”.

In a letter to shareholders to accompany Vimeo parent company IAC’s third quarter results, IAC CEO and interim Vimeo CEO Joey Levin said that Vimeo has the potential to be “one of the biggest and most disruptive opportunities we’ve seen at IAC”.

“Rather than sell ads on Vimeo, or try to launch a linear channel through existing access providers, we will begin to experiment withproprietary consumer subscription services on Vimeo,” said Levin.

This new subscription layer will be available on top of existing options to subscribe to individual content channels on Vimeo – a feature that Vimeo enabled for content creators following its acquisition of VHX earlier this year.

“Vimeo has the once-in-a-generation opportunity to, following in Netflix’s footsteps, deliver compelling subscription viewing experiences for consumers in the market for pay TV,” said Levin.

“I believe we can do so at a fraction of the cost of other major competitors by virtue of the audience and content benefits conferred upon Vimeo through our existing marketplace. And I believe we can do it in a way that empowers the content creators.”

Previously Vimeo has shunned ads from its site and has operated as a ‘software as a service’ business, offering three payment plans – Vimeo Plus, Vimeo PRO and Vimeo Business – for video creators, filmmakers, and businesses using the site.

Introducing a subscription offering will allow Vimeo to bolster revenues while tapping into the site’s existing community and large archive of content.

“The main differentiator between us and others at play in this new OTT market is that unlike all others who have to start from scratch, we begin with over a billion monthly video views, 115 million videos available, 240 million monthly viewers,” said Levin.

Vimeo already offers premium content to rent and Levin claims that transactional video-on-demand sales in its existing marketplace are growing nearly 50% year-on-year.

Last month it also announced its first studio partnership with Lionsgate, making Lionsgate and Starz TV shows available on a TVOD basis to global audiences via Vimeo.

“In order to pull it all together, we need a new consumer experience and are in the midst of a redesign to bring together original programming, our massive library, and the marketplace generated by creators on Vimeo in a comprehensive offering to drive transactions,” said Levin.

“This will include not only transactions directly between creators and consumers, but new services that establish a direct relationship with Vimeo, including subscriptions and sales offerings.

“Ultimately, our goal is for Vimeo to drive millions of subscriptions and transactions for our creators while also growing a proprietary subscriber base with millions of consumers directly.”