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Vimeo Launches Vimeo PRO. Is Something Missing?

Filmmaker-friendly video sharing service Vimeo just launched Vimeo PRO, a service designed for small businesses looking for high-quality, branding-free video hosting. Vimeo PRO runs $199/year for 50GB of storage and includes up to 250,000 plays; another $199 will expand the offering by an additional 100,000 plays or 50GB of storage. While this new offering will work well for many small businesses — especially in a portfolio context — I have a number of questions about it, and I think there’s something missing from Vimeo’s slate of offerings.

There are a few things I don’t understand about Vimeo’s new PRO service. First, for $199 a year you get 50GB of storage and 250,000 plays. If you’re a Vimeo Plus member, on the other hand, you get 5GB of storage a week, which maxes out at 260GB a year (though it would be hard to utilize all of it unless you maxed out every week). You also get unlimited plays as a Plus member — and you’re only paying $60/year. I understand the difference between a player only (Pro) and a service that wants to direct potential users back to its own site (Plus), but I’m not sure that users will understand the difference given Plus already allows you to remove the Vimeo branding, restrict embedding to your own site, and password-protect files. Are they taking away these features they tout as “Pro” from the current Plus account? If not, it seems to me that savvy users can simply opt for Plus and remove the Vimeo branding, assuming they’re not selling anything (if they are, they’ll need the Pro account).

Another thing: my main complaint with the Vimeo player to date has been the inability to seek to a video point beyond what’s already been downloaded. For long videos, this is a must, and other services like YouTube have had this in place for years. Instead, with Vimeo you must wait for the entire video to download if you want to watch the end, instead of simply clicking and having the download re-start from that point forward. I’m talking about the Flash player, here — the mobile and HTML5 versions may differ, but I’m betting most people are still watching video using Flash, so it’s an issue regardless.

I’m sure the folks at Vimeo will have good answers to these questions. Also, it’s worth noting that the new PRO account offers a number of features not found in Plus, such as the creation of a portfolio web site:

There’s something I’m less sure about, however, and it’s the elephant in the room for Vimeo: monetization. As a site that has a massive community of filmmakers posting short videos, tutorials, and camera tests, you would think they would offer a way for independent filmmakers to make a living… independently. By this I mean: views are worth money. A $10 CPM, which is within the realm of possibility, works out to be a penny a view. 250,000 views, therefore, could be worth $2,500 to the video’s creator, assuming there’s a paying ad run against every view. But in Vimeo’s world, where they don’t offer any advertising solutions, it’s worth $0.00. I understand that they don’t want to “taint” their customer’s videos with pre-roll or overlay ads. But if you really want to empower independent content creators, you must give them a way to make a living. Especially if you’re going to call the new account “Pro” — the definition of “professional” is “a person engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.” If you can’t make any money off your videos, that’s a pastime, not a profession.

Brightcove,, Viddler, Ooyala, and newcomer Vidcaster all offer monetization options. Online video has moved beyond a hobby; today, many people make a living by posting videos online. But they can’t do it through Vimeo. To be clear: I’m a paying Vimeo customer and I like the service. They have a great community and their features and video quality are some of the best out there. $199/year is practically nothing, much less $59/year. There are also many ways to make money by posting videos online that are more indirect: getting paying jobs, building an audience, establishing new contacts, etc. But as I say on this site’s disclosures page, “the point of NoFilmSchool is to help independent creatives figure out how to derive value from the content we create.” Hosting isn’t enough for independent content creators. Monetization is key.

Link: Vimeo PRO


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 40 COMMENTS

  • For me as a production co/filmmaker… make my vimeo pro my website( own design if I want), domain name, with private portfolio’s for clients, home movies, whatever all on one site. I can sell a product on Pro, Plus you cannot it has certain ethics. I rent as well so this helps show product with video with no ads like youtube.
    For sure monetization needs to be addressed, Vimeo are monetizing nicely because of a community that helped create it, to set up a pay per view to compete with itunes would be killer feature.

  • “If you can’t make any money off your videos, that’s a pastime, not a profession.”

    “Monetisation is key”.

    I agree.

  • Great article, Koo. You bring up a lot of good points, and hopefully I can help clarify some of them from the Vimeo perspective!

    Plus vs PRO:
    Straight up, PRO is built for businesses. Plus is for individuals. We aren’t promoting PRO as an upgrade to Plus, nor is it designed for filmmakers. It’s a service that finally allows the business community to use Vimeo, and all our great features, for commercial and business use. While we support the creative arts (and creative professionals), we do not allow members to post content when the intent of that content is to sell something. So, Vimeo PRO allows small businesses (both creative and non creative) to use the Vimeo platform to embed content on their own websites without the risk of discovery and removal for violating our terms of service.

    So, if you are currently a Vimeo Plus member, and work in the creative arts, you may never need to switch your account and that is okay! However, if you are a small business (creative or otherwise) that has commercial needs, this is one of the easiest and cost effective solutions out there.

    As far as monetization goes, we feel that by offering a service that is so affordable, businesses do not need to smother their content with ads in order to help pay for their hosting costs. We’re not big fans of in-video advertising (we don’t have any advertising within videos anywhere on Vimeo) and we think PRO members shouldn’t have to disrupt their customers experience with ads.

    That being said, and I know what you’re getting at, we are very committed to offering the creative community the best possible solution for hosting and sharing their work. I think you’ll see some awesome improvements in this area in the future as we continue to improve upon Plus and PRO.

    So unless filmmakers want to take advantage of some of the new features available with PRO, we still recommend Plus for all filmmakers needs.

    Blake Whitman
    VP, Creative Development –

    • Blake,

      Thanks very much for the clarifications about selling stuff through Vimeo and individual vs. business use. That makes the PRO designation clearer for me and hopefully others as well.

      “Future improvements” always excite me — you guys obviously have a great team over there and I look forward to what’s next.

    • Hi Andrew, I believe that helping small video maker to make a living is actually a good point. This does not have to be make only by advertising but would be sufficient a pay-per-view plug in on the video. Video Camcorder (semi-pro) are pretty expensive and as well all the other harder we buy to create content in your Vimeo community. Since I believe Vimeo does not do the business for the glory why shouldn’t give us at least the opportunity to earn a bit to cover our expenses that we are having in order to make you reach???

  • “You can add a logo that will remain visible throughout your entire video, one that fades after just a few seconds or one that appears only as the video loads,” said Whitman. (Though the blue italic “HD,” which remains on the PRO players, is a Vimeo brand in its own right.)
    nice feature………

  • Although Vimeo has a following of filmmakers, pro and amateur alike, the service they offer IS frustrating! For example, a point you listed that Blake didn’t address is the ability to seek any point in a video without having to wait for the whole video to download (especially if that point you’re after is near, or at, the end).
    What keeps me from uploading my own content (and purchasing a Plus account), are technical inabilities…i.e., compression artifacts, the above mentioned ‘wait-to-load’ before watching “feature”, no support for content above 1080p (a real bummer when you embed to a 4k projection suite for business or pleasure), slow download times (even with fast service providers). Just seems to be the same old ‘sleeping at the switch’ problem that semi-successful businesses find themselves in.
    There is a way to run a business that is constantly changing as fast as new frontiers can be reached, but sadly, those ways are fading fast as the newer, younger generation seeks to make a name for itself. If only they would keep their competition guessing (though having no real competition allows the lax attitude), and on their toes, the whole of the filmmaking world would actually DO something other than crawl…..End of rant…Let the flames begin!

  • I was wondering, with the Pro account, can you customize the site just like a regular website? Have different pages and contact information. Some of the sample pages look just like a header with video posts. This would make a big difference for me to use as a business website.

    Thank you

  • yes seems like it, with 12 themes to start with… Vimeo really should let users check out the themes before signing up.

    How do I customize my Vimeo PRO Portfolio?

    Once you’ve created a Portfolio, you can choose from our available default Themes that give your Portfolio a unique look and feel. You can choose which details will be displayed along with your videos, and also customize the color scheme, upload a background image and a header logo. For the CSS masters out there, we allow you to change any CSS on your portfolio pages.

  • The mere existence of this $200 offering will make them sell more $60 plus accounts, because it makes them look cheap by comparison

  • Hey Dave-

    Thanks for the feedback, let me address some of the things you brought up.

    First off, the “seek-ahead” functionality you’re talking about. I couldn’t agree more! It sucks that we don’t have good support for this yet but I assure you we’re working hard on it. On most tablets, phone and in our HTML5 player it’s already working– it’s getting it into Flash that has proven to be a large technical challenge, but we’re making progress. Look for some news in this area in the next few weeks.

    As far as the quality and speed problems you’re seeing, unfortunately we stream to millions and millions of people a day so we are always forced to walk that line between upping quality and making video accessible to the lowest common denominator. As much as we would like to let uploaders do whatever they like in terms of definition and quality, the world isn’t ready yet. Artifiacting or the lack of 4K support isn’t us being asleep at the wheel– it’s a conscious decision to build a product people can actually use. That said, we still consider ourselves the leader in video fidelity online and we are constantly refining and revising our encoding practices. For example our SD video (even for free users) is on average 4 times the resolution of YouTube and, in my opinion, has much less artifacting.

    Hope that helps,

    Andrew Pile
    VP, Product & Development, Vimeo

    • Thanks for the reply back Andrew, proves that you are indeed vigilant. Glad to hear you’re making progress! YouTube isn’t so bad, really, but there is the “serious filmmaker” image that Vimeo has come to be known for, and the place to go, which provides vastly more helpful comments from peers, when you’ve got something to say to your counterparts. If all goes as planned for you guys in the near future, I’ll no longer be a holdout.

      Thanks again, and I wish you all success,
      Dave Creu, Resident Troublemaker

  • it’s mostly a licensing thing. Vimeo Plus members aren’t allowed to post videos to be used for commercial purposes. They want it to be an artists community.

    Vimeo Pro does away with that, but at a cost. And if charging for profit businesses a higher rate than artists is the way for them to stay afloat, I’m for it!

  • MikeCollins on 08.4.11 @ 3:44PM

    Aren’t there already plenty of people using Vimeo or Plus in a commercial manner already? Every gear manufacturer that puts up a piece showing off equipment is obviously hoping that it’s going to entice someone into buying something right?

    I love Vimeo and think it’s great that they now have a business application. I expect that we will be using it very soon for client work that we do.


  • Vimeo PRO seems like a solution in search of a problem.

  • Dude, do you actually research what you write about? You might want to think about it!
    The difference between Plus & Pro is that Plus DOES NOT allow commercial content!

    There are a couple of exceptions, but business, mean “commercial” business. If you are not a production house, you have to go Pro. If you go Pro, Vimeo assumes your views, and more bandwidth – thus the restrictions.

    Your lack of knowledge, will lead some to believe that they can post commercial content violating Vimeo’s agreement and jeopardizing their ethics and creditability with their customers.

    Please think and do a little research before posting things like this!


  • woah, Chris- dunna be a doucha bag brocheese? all in all in invaluable read. thanks and have a nice day!

  • After reading Laforet’s recent blog post about Vimeo PRO (, I now see the value in the service, and I retract my snarky comment. I’m glad I wasn’t excoriated for my disturbing lack of faith.

  • Great article…useful comments. Helped me decide to try out the Pro account.

  • If social media sharing is important to you, VimeoPro is not a good fit !!!

    I am a frustrated vimeo pro member and will be asking for a refund.

    - Vimeo pro videos will not play in facebook
    - The share button on the vimeo pro player will not work.

    This is all due to the face that they have the pro service on the same vimeo url platform which will block pro commercial content, preventing facebook from grabbing the player and thumb to embed the video and preventing the share button to work.

    Much of my commercial business video business (what pays the bills) depends on putting my client’s videos into the social networks like facebook and for my clients to be able to easily share their videos with a click of the button.

    So this platform is definitely not a fit for me. – Aaron

    • If this is true, it is indeed a problem, as I am in the same position. Also, I have a question: If I purchase a PRO account, can I transfer all or some of my videos from my plus account without having to re-ulpload?

  • Thanks Aaron Bailey. I also need social media sharing. I’ll wait for VimeoPro to add that before I buy a pro account.

  • Hi all!

    If you are looking for a simple way to monetize your Vimeo Pro videos without degrading your quality content with advertisements et cetera. maybe you should take a look at, In this blogpost we tell you all about it! Watch the movie and see it’s easy as 1-2-3 ;-)

    Let me know what you think!

  • Alright…There IS clearly a difference of quality using vimeo vs. you tube. A positive differecne towards vimeo. That’s the main reason most people use it. As far as “the seek any where a user wants” feature, that is apparently almost over come by vimeo running on platform other than flash, that’s cool I geusse, but are people really that impatient…to sit and stare at the video loading before they can view the shot 5 seconds from the end of the video? Go do something else while it loads…like edit or color correct that video your client really wants first thing in the am.

    As far as monitization..vimeo was not built on that mentality anyways…(correct me if i am wrong)…making money on the back end is always a challenge. As professionals shouldn’t we be getting paid to CREATE the content anyways???

    just sayin…

  • I was wanting Pro only for the fact that it has custom templates… Not sure if it is worth it for the option only, but makes the user stick out more than with just the Plus Layout… I am sure many are thinking the same thing… They should come out with a plus version with templates and maybe charge a little more… That is the only reason I am thinking about going pro, but I cannot find what templates they have to offer before hand, which seems totally stupid…Anybody have any other suggestions or comments? I am sure there are professionals like myself that are seeking just something a little different and templates seem to be the way…?

  • Hi guys… great article and great comments! I am recently considering a video hosting account, to keep private and just available for my website and for my social networks. I have learned from you that the social network option does not work but I have a question about the website.

    Since this doesn’t allow you to playback on social networks, does it allow you to playback from your website? Kind of to try to make money of the top banner and the side ads on the website


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