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Streaming video service Vimeo announced a new $10 million investment today that will go to film makers who use the company’s Vimeo On-Demand (VOD) platform to distribute and sell their films. This marks Vimeo’s second big investment for creators, with the first happening back in Sept.

The move comes a year after Vimeo launched its VOD distribution platform at SXSW 2013, which allows film makers to set purchase and rental prices for their films, as well as control which regions their films are available to. Since VOD launched, the company tells VentureBeat that it has added over 6,000 titles — generating 168 million unique views worldwide and a record 41 million unique views in the U.S, according to comScore.

“There’s a trend growing for the sort of creator-driven distribution that’s happening across both music and film … where they are driving the marketing, the audience, and the interest,” Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor said in an interview with VentureBeat. “We feel strongly that [Vimeo On-Demand] can be a part of that.”

A portion of the new investment will go towards the company’s Film Festival program, which it first started at the Toronto Film Festival. Under the program, Vimeo will offer a $10,000 advance to creators who agree to exclusively distribute their film via VOD once it leaves theaters. Any film that debuts at one of the top 20 biggest film festivals is eligible for the program. (Note: SXSW is listed as No. 15.)

The company is getting recognition from film makers for its distribution efforts, Trainor told me. And while this new investment is good for creators, it’s also helping Vimeo become the go-to service for making money on indie films online — something that’ll prove far more valuable in the future.

Can’t get your film into the festival circuit but still want some of that investment money? Well, there are two other options. Vimeo will also invest in films that have raised at least $10,000 on a crowdfunding platform. Additionally, a portion of the new investment will be used to sign distribution deals with select film makers and distributors when it makes sense.

Creators of both crowdfunded films and festival films will also gain a year-long subscription to Vimeo’s pro service, free of charge.


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