Jason Kilar Launches Premium Video Platform Vessel

Vessel_Product_Shot_ - H 2014
Courtesy of Vessel

Vessel_Product_Shot_ - H 2014

The $2.99 per month subscription service is now available on an invite-only basis.

Vessel, the much-anticipated video service from ex-Hulu boss Jason Kilar, has launched to the public with videos from YouTube creators such as Connor Franta and Arden Rose

Beginning on Wednesday, Vessel will begin offering its slate of curated video content to users on an invite-only basis.

Vessel plans to offer three-day early access to a slate of shortform videos from a number of YouTube creators and media companies. After signing up early partners such as Ingrid Nilsen and Shane Dawson, Vessel opened its doors to creators in December to fill out its offerings. Now, Vessel has a creators including Brittani Louise Taylor, Jimmy Tatro, Roman Atwood and Jack Vale set to premiere content on the platform. 

Kilar tells The Hollywood Reporter that the last month was about signing up creators and helping them learn the Vessel toolset. "It was a dress rehearsal for subscribers that was very helpful," he explains, adding that Vessel also tweaked its system after receiving feedback from its new partners. "One of the things that's very special is that all creators have a big impact on the product." 

Now, the question remains whether audiences will pay for early access to videos that they've grown accustomed to watching for free. To ease users into the $2.99 monthly fee, Vessel is offering invitees a 30-day free trial. 

Although many in the digital community are bullish on the idea of windowing YouTube content, others have expressed worry about losing their audiences as a result, even if they post their videos to the Google-owned streamer immediately following the exclusive Vessel window. Kilar, however, says he doesn't expect Vessel to cannibalize a creator's existing YouTube audience. "When you premiere something on Vessel, it's going to be for people who have paid to get early access," he says. "It really is limited to the superfans that value early access. For 99 percent of the world, the premiere on the free Web will be the first time it's available." 

Initially, Vessel will be available on iOS devices and on the web. The company plans to expand to Android devices in the near future.

Kilar expects Vessel's invite-only beta period to last "a matter of weeks" and says that the service will soon become available to all subscribers.