Vimeo ProStreaming video site Vimeo, best known for its community of indie filmmakers, is branching out into a new area of business with Vimeo Pro accounts —  a video-hosting service for small and mid-sized companies.

Vimeo has worked to differentiate itself from YouTube by providing a more professional, commercial-free service with fewer restrictions. The company says that won’t change now that its offering a Pro service for businesses, which will operate separately from the main site.

“We’ve had demands for a very long time for a commercial solution,” said Vimeo Marketing Communications Director Deborah Szajngarten. “And since we’re known for enabling creative and artistic expression, we didn’t want to upset our community with a lot of commercial content.”

Having watched countless short films on Vimeo over the past few years, I can see how small businesses with video needs would prefer to use Vimeo over others. Until now, that wasn’t an option. A good comparison might be how traditional businesses find Apple computers a more attractive option for traditional business needs. A Windows PC might be a better solution, but they’d rather have something elegant and fairly easy to use.

The company has been working on the Pro service for about two years, according to Szajngarten, who said it was important that Vimeo create a service that was both affordable and didn’t step on the toes of its existing user base.

For $199 a year ($16 per month), business customers get 50 GB of storage and up to 250,000 plays. Every additional 50 GB is another $199 per year, which also adds another 100,000 plays to the total capacity. Customers can also replace the Vimeo watermark with their own company logo and customize.

The number of plays that pro account holders have may seem low, but it should be perfect for small businesses that want to feature a video on their website — like a restaurant or video of a wedding. Also, pro accounts can use a feature called “Community Pass” to make a video available on their regular Vimeo accounts — provided it doesn’t violate the company’s non-commercial standards. “If that video goes viral on the regular Vimeo site using Community Pass, it doesn’t count against the 250,000 plays,” Szajngarten said.

Another benefit of using Vimeo is its HTML 5 video player, which will allow videos to work on tablets, mobile phones and televisions with internet connectivity.

Self-hosting solutions are far more expensive and don’t offer the ease of use that Vimeo does. Vimeo is hoping its reputation and large user base is enough to improve on competing services like Brightcove and Ooyala. By comparison, Brightcove’s lowest-pricing option is $99 a month, which gives the customer 50 videos and 40 GB of bandwidth.

Below is a video demonstration of the Vimeo Pro service.