Vimeo Launches Subscription Video Feature

Vimeo SVOD Product Shot - H 2015
Courtesy of Vimeo

Vimeo SVOD Product Shot - H 2015

Creators who use the ad-free streaming platform will now be able to charge monthly subscription fees for access to their videos.

Just as YouTube seems poised to launch a subscription video business, competitor Vimeo has unveiled new tools that allow creators to charge for recurring content. 

IAC-owned Vimeo on Tuesday announced subscription features for its Video On Demand platform. Creators who use the ad-free service will now be able to charge a monthly fee for unlimited viewing. 

"Like our transactional launch just over two years ago, the subscription launch is starting with an open set of tools for creators, who will now be able to offer a recurring monthly subscription option," CEO Kerry Trainor tells The Hollywood Reporter. "This is just the first phase for us."

Creators will be able to set their own subscription pricing, tailor their offerings by location, and offer free trials, bonus material or other perks. Vimeo has also updated its stats dashboard to aggregate subscriber data. 

Although Vimeo provides some guidance to creators about pricing their work, Trainor says the company intentionally doesn't get too specific, "because we think that may be limiting to some creators. If anything, we encourage them to charge more, because we think a lot of creators underprice."

Under the new subscription offering, Vimeo will continue to give creators a 90 percent cut of all revenue they generate. 

Transactional or free, ad-supported video have been the most common business models for online video in recent years, but that's changing. Former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar launched Vessel earlier this year to provide exclusive windowing of content for a small monthly fee. YouTube is currently testing music offering Music Key and is expected to launch a platform-wide subscription service later this year. 

"We think we're doing something different," says Trainor. "We're allowing creators to launch the subscription service of their choice. We think there's great power in that."