Former Hulu boss’ new startup ‘Vessel’ is going after YouTube’s top talent

Image Credit: Vessel

More details have emerged about the new video startup Vessel from founder and former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar — specifically, how the company’s business model might make YouTube sweat.

Vessel is apparently targeting top content partners currently uploading their work to premium YouTube channels, according to a new report today from The Information. The report indicates that current YouTube partners might be willing to ditch the streaming video giant if Vessel can promise them better contract terms offering a larger payout. (It’s also something I predicted might be Vessel’s business model when the company announced its massive $75 million round of funding last week.)

Vessel declined comment to VentureBeat about its plans for video creators.

In addition to better terms, the report also said Vessel is offering to pay for guarantees of temporary exclusivity (30-day exclusive window) on content produced by those YouTube partners. That’s definitely something YouTube hasn’t really done much of but may have to start doing if it wants to keep up.

In the past, YouTube has set aside upwards of $200 million to both finance and promote content from its premium channel partners. Additionally, YouTube set up studios in select locations to help those creators produce high-quality videos at a low cost, and it launched a crowdfunding button on channel pages. Also, Reuters reported that YouTube is offering some creators the chance to pitch new episodic series with the goal of getting picked up on another medium (television). But if those creators can’t maintain a lucrative business through YouTube’s ecosystem, it might not matter.

To top it off, Vessel isn’t even the only one going after YouTube top talent, either. Yahoo is also rumored to be offering YouTube channel partners its own set of lucrative terms for content that will be featured on a yet-to-be-announced Yahoo-branded video service.

But we still don’t know Vessel’s entire business strategy, although I think it would be a safe bet to say it isn’t trying to become just another multichannel video network like Maker, Machinima, or Fullscreen.


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Gary Hughes
Gary Hughes

Hey I just started my own womens fashion business, Free Fedex worldwide, not many can say that, check it out, stuff is really cool

Travis Chambers
Travis Chambers

This has been a long time in the making. YouTube doesn't compensate talent competitively, so naturally the market is going to solve the problem. Top 100 YouTubers have loyal enough followings that will follow them wherever they go. YouTube finished virality, diminished benefits of getting on the front page, they have just cut too many corners. All this being said. I don't 30 days exclusive and a dozen Top 100 YouTubers is going to be enough. They need to go for 6 month exclusive and get hundreds of top 1000 YouTubers. Or.... Someone could start selling an ad tech package to YouTubers to build their own audiences of their own sites... But that would be kind of like going back to the 90's. No matter what some network is taking a cut, it's a race to the bottom!

Thor Kajberg
Thor Kajberg

Tons of 'if's and' 'might's I'm there. Speculation. Not equal to 'is making YouTube' do anything. Big difference, Venture Beat.