Media

Vimeo turns on ‘Vimeo on Demand’ paywall to help filmmakers distribute movies online

Popular video-sharing service Vimeo has opened up its previously announced “Vimeo on Demand” paywall to all of its Vimeo Pro subscribers, a move that makes it easy for anyone to charge people to watch or download a movie online.

Vimeo has already made a lot of moves in 2013 to continue setting itself apart from YouTube and other web video services. It recently acquired iOS GIF-making app Echograph to help counter the buzz of hot video-sharing apps like Vine. Vimeo also partnered with GenArts’ Vivoom app to make it possible to add filters and “Looks” to Vimeo videos. The paywall availability (which is being made in conjunction with the company’s presence at SXSW in Austin) will likely help with Vimeo’s reputation of enabling creative professionals.

Vimeo tested the paywall service this past winter by offering it for six different films this past winter to get it ready for widespread usage. Video creators are able to set the price, country-by-country availability, and the duration of streaming availability. Creators also have the option to offer the film as a high-quality MP4 download on top of streaming.

“This service is set apart from others because it is attached to Vimeo and all the technology it’s known for,” Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor told VentureBeat. “We’re excited about the interest people have expressed about using Vimeo a distribution platform.”

What’s so good about the Vimeo paywall is that it’s applicable to all kinds of content, including feature films, short films, TV episodes, and education videos. I mentioned to Trainor during our conversation that I thought the most innovative video distribution was happening from comedians such as Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari. Both comedians made a lot of cash by offering DRM-free copies of their latest stand-up specials without the hassles. Trainor agreed that comedians generally have been good at online distribution and that Vimeo could be an attractive place for more content like, particularly because it would take care of the hassle of creating a stable distribution platform.

“We’re not ruling out Hollywood deals, but this is open for all kinds of genres and types of content,” Trainor said. “We’re encouraged by the quality of submissions we’ve seen so far.”

Ideally, if the paywall service is a hit, it could help Vimeo generate more revenue. After fees to PayPal or credit card companies, Vimeo takes a 10 percent cut of the transaction and the creator gets 90 percent.

Trainor said Vimeo makes the majority of its revenue from subscriptions, but it also takes in cash from advertising deals and payment transactions. The paywall service falls under the transactions business.

One of the first projects out of the gate for Vimeo on Demand is a re-mastered and expanded version of It’s Such a Beautiful Day, a film by Academy Award-nominated animator Don Hertzfeldt. Vimeo will be showing the film today at SXSW. The movie will be available exclusively on Vimeo on Demand for a $2 rental or you can buy it for $6.

IAC-owned Vimeo was founded in 2004 and claims have to 15 million registered users and more than 93 million unique visitors each month.

Top photo via Vimeo

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