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Vimeo is teaming with the largest YouTube network to bolster exclusive content on it’s video platform.
The streaming service has struck a deal with Maker Studios to fund and distribute multiple projects in 2015. Those videos will get an exclusive window, and likely premiere, on Vimeo’s paid VOD tier, Vimeo On Demand.
The streamer will also offer Vimeo On Demand to Maker’s network of 55,000 creators.
“The opportunity and viability of windowing content from online creators is growing ever day,” Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re striking this partnership to be there to educate and empower these creators to star using the on-demand window.”
Trainor declines to comment on the types of projects that could emerge from the partnership, but says there will be a range.
Disney-owned Maker Studios was built on YouTube, the platform of choice for many of its creators. But in recent years the multi-channel network has begun to explore multiple distribution options, including its own player Maker.TV. The company announced last week that it would be a programming partner on Dish’s new Sling TV streaming offering.
“Maker is always excited to create original programs that reach audiences across platforms, and Vimeo will be a great partner to distribute new ideas,” said Maker chief strategy office Courtney Holt.
Vimeo, which has long set itself apart from YouTube by remaining advertising free, has made an effort to boost original and exclusive content on its platform. The IAC-owned company recently struck a deal with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer‘s New Form Digital to adapt several short-form projects into web series and announced this week that it had teamed with Spike Lee for the advance release of his new film Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.
Trainor says the Maker deal is not about taking content off YouTube, but about helping creators discover new distribution options. “The online video ecosystem continues to grow rapidly but there’s only been one business model for creators,” he adds. “This is absolutely the largest deal that we’ve done to date. We plan to continue to strike these relationships with all of the best companies that are partnered with and supporting talent as the online video ecosystems develop.”
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