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Vimeo On Demand Now Open to PRO Members, Sell Your Work Online, Keep 90% of the Revenue

03.12.13 @ 9:02AM Tags : , , ,

While it’s been in private beta since November, Vimeo has finally unveiled details of their pay-to-view service, which they are now officially calling Vimeo On Demand. This is a big move for the video streaming website, which up until now has only offered the option to tip users. There are plenty of options for creators to sell their content online, but it’s far more convenient to sell through a service that’s already familiar with millions of users. Check out more details of the new service below.

A little bit from their press release announcing Vimeo On Demand:

Vimeo today launched its open self-distribution service, Vimeo On Demand. Available now to all Vimeo PRO members, Vimeo On Demand empowers creators to sell their works directly to their audiences and retain a 90 percent share of the revenue after transaction costs. In addition to its creator-friendly revenue share, Vimeo On Demand gives creators the flexibility and control to choose their price; select country-by-country availability; customize their page design; and offer content on Vimeo, their own website, or both.

Here is the launch video:

While the service is officially launching at the SXSW film festival today in Austin, we talked with Blake Whitman, Vimeo’s VP of Creative Development. Here are some of the things we learned from the conversation:


  • Vimeo really wants to make the experience custom to users
  • While the PRO account has portfolios, Vimeo On Demand will allow for people to use custom domains for the VOD page, so that you can set up your own destination site


  • They are looking at people selling their films and instructional videos
  • People will be able to sell their web series as individual episodes or all at once
  • You set the price, duration of rental, and geo-restrictions
  • The system will be flexible, allowing you to set prices for individual episodes of a series

Rental Process

  • Creators can make videos available for only a specific amount of time, or in perpetuity
  • People will have to have a Vimeo account to make purchases


  • Hosting fees and delivery fees are covered with the PRO account
  • There will be a 90/10 revenue split to the creator after transaction/credit card fees

Anytime, Anywhere

  • Vimeo On Demand will be built into the ecosystem and discoverable through search, and will be part of the “following” system, showing up in feeds
  • Any purchase goes to the watch later queue so you that it can be watched on connected TVs, mobile devices, etc.

Player Improvements

  • While not completely related to Vimeo On Demand, Blake did mention that they are always working on improving the user interface, so it’s possible we could see a solution to the issue of the user not being able to select a video in 720p or 1080p (at present you can select HD or non-HD, but not flavors of hi-def)

This is a big move for Vimeo, and it’s definitely exciting as a filmmaker to finally see one of the biggest streaming sites on the web really open up and allow creators to sell their content. While there will always be plenty of options online for selling your work, the more places people can find it the better. While you’ll need a PRO account for the service (which starts at $200), I think it’s a small price to pay for Vimeo handling everything on the back-end and you keeping 90% of the revenue.

Head on over to Vimeo to learn more about it.

What do you guys think? If you have a PRO account, will you be using Vimeo On Demand right away? How do you see this service competing with something like iTunes or Amazon — or do you see it as beneficial to have your work on all of them?



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Description image 61 COMMENTS

  • This is definitely a positive development. The fact that users will have to create a vimeo account to become customers is a shame, although understandable from a technical perspective of course. I think one of the biggest challenges as a distributor these days is being able to meet people where they’re at – and for the most part, they are not on vimeo. At least, not the people who would be buying my films. Of course you can “take it to them” since all you have to do is post a link on Facebook or the like, but we all know that the more hoops people have to jump through (like creating new accounts they don’t really want), the less likely they are going to buy your product.
    But with that said – I’m very glad to see this feature released. I plan to make use of it.

    • I totally agree – its gonna filter out a lot of people unwilling to set up an account, having to input their payment info, plus profile info etc before they can watch your film. I think most ppl who see a Vimeo link posted on Facebook would ideally like to watchit directly on their Facebook than having to redirect to an external site.

      • That end seems like a terrible idea, that’s true.

      • This is only the start, I believe they will do the proper adjustments as it goes, but yes, you have to pay it somehow and creating an account is the simplest way to do it I believe.

      • I think this is why distrify makes more sense to me. Most people do not want to go through the hassle, they just want to watch.

        • Well Distrify is not as popular as Vimeo. Vimeo is already on apple TV, samsung TVs, PS3 and more

        • I agree, cos youtube is so simple.
          Of course we make no money creating content, unless we have millions of fans, still making bread crumbs, but NO one will bother creating account, unless they are the biggest fans in the world.
          This might be the beginning but it better get really good real soon, cos otherwise it will be failure.

    • I watched Beauty Is Embarrassing on Vimeo and I can’t even remember how I paid for it since it was so easy. Online payment has really increased in efficiency in the last few years. It may have been as easy and just pushing confirm on paypal.

      • Still you want million of users, not just 15% that has set up paypal. There is a lot of people out there that do not use paypal. as easy at it seams, its not as easy as youtube. Sorry, but this is not efficient.


  • This is pretty exciting. I we this as most useful for someone like PB, with his camera reviews and stuff. His 1DC review got somethinglike 40k views, if he can turn a quarter of those into a $1 rental, that’s quite a paycheck.

    • Mike Collins on 03.15.13 @ 10:22AM

      I don’t think many people are going to “rent” a camera/slider/lens review though do you? If people want to tip PB for his work I get that but I think putting paywalls up on things like that aren’t a great idea.

      I think this makes sense for actual films, or maybe even shorts that wouldn’t or couldn’t find theatrical distro or iTunes/Netflix, but that’s about it.

  • This is pretty cool.

    For those complaining about users having to sign up for vimeo / input payment info… this is just the beginning. This service is just getting off the ground… you should expect a ton of changes and improvements as time goes by. This is an amazing start.

  • Can you download too or only stream purchases?

    • Nevermind. Looks like you can “download after purchase.”

    • That was so amazing!! You guys did such an awoemse job!! It was great to meet both you and your assistant, you were both a pleasure to have around! I’m so glad we’ll be able to keep our memories of that special day fresh thanks to you!! Thanks so much!

  • While this is exciting news and I think a step in the right direction, Vimeo will need to sort out how bad their search function currently is. If you can type in the exact name of a video and it doesn’t come up, something needs to change. That being said, I greatly prefer Vimeo to YouTube, I just wish their search worked!

    • Rodrigo Molinsky on 03.12.13 @ 2:52PM

      That’s true. And if you want to search by user, you’ll find a lot of stuff aside some of this user’s videos, if you’re lucky.

    • What’s WITH that? I just google stuff for vimeo now.

      I assume they’ll keep these videos separate -they had that store set up for the beta launch. It’d be nice to have ti set up like netflix – sign in and browse by genre, featured and recently added.

    • Relying on the pile of people who already are Vimeo regulars/users won’t be enough to make it a viable revenue stream. The key benefit here is greatly reducing the friction of setting up a VOD delivery system for the producer. It is not going to magically make the larger problem of obscurity go away all by itself- not like a front page promo on iTunes would. But a front page promo on iTunes means you’re back playing the old gatekeeper lottery system of yore. This is gatekeeper free, but you still need to drum up your own awareness if you want to make money. Thankfully we have emergent tools and systems that make that easier, though not foolproof. There’s no free lunch. :)

  • Does it support 50 / 60 fps?

    • I don’t think James Cameron is releasing Avatar 2 on Vimeo.

      • :-P
        Still, I think it would be a nice option to have in general. I can’t imagine much of the content that’d be sold this way would be at higher frame rates, but just having the support in the off chance someone wants their content viewed that way would be nice. On a more consumer level, a lot of the recent spat of AVCHD camcorders and point-and-shoots shoot video at 60 FPS, so coming across it is at least becoming a little more likely, if not more common.

  • Overall, this is great. A few annoying things about their Pro service are you are capped at 250k views, and 50GB of data. Additional views are $199/100k. I didn’t look into extra data. I guess if you’re getting close to 250k views, you should have the rental income to acquire more bandwidth, but you would think that would be covered by the 10% they’re gaining from the rentals. But like I said, overall this is pretty great. I also wish people didn’t have to sign up for Vimeo to view. That will definitely scare off a few older audience members who don’t know what their getting into.

    • Surely this cap wouldn’t apply to VOD views.

      Also vimeo lets you sign in using facebook now. So you don’t really need to make a new account.

  • I don’t see this working out as most are hoping. Another bubble waiting to burst. Get in on the ground floor and grab your quick cash before people wake up. How long do you expect people to pay Vimeo for the privilege to watch utter amateurish crap?

    • A financial bubble, as you are referring to, is when products or assets have inflated values. That’s EXACTLY where we are with independent film right now, what with all these hucksters and amateurs making millions off their so-called crap. The Vimeo Bubble will go down in history as the narrow window in time when the masses started buying indie films directly from the filmmakers for the drastically inflated prices of $300/rental. Yup, definitely going to happen. So, so true. You really nailed it with this one.

      • Ha!

        I love the site Ryan, keep it up.

      • Where are these great ignored indie films you are talking about? They don’t exist.

        • Today no one wants any hussle, otherwise they will pirte the crap. If things are not as simple as youtube, people will simply not bother, but I am glad vimeo is waking up. Cos it was a sleeping beauty:)
          However, keep in mind, that 90% of revenue might not be as bad once all the people on vimeo will equal to 10% of all the users on youtube (based on being paid up to 1% on youtube). So based on statistic, you will make exact same money, which is funny. So it makes no bloody difference. Vimeo, needs to grow and simplify, so far its no good, to be honest…

    • as a opposed to Hollywood crap? I love amateurish crap and will happily pay $3.99 to watch indie, underground films that come directly off the film fest circuit. The film festival strategy of holding onto your film for 6-12 months after its prem and hoping for some form of distribution will end when filmmakers realize that a sizable audience wants to see your film AS IT DEBUTS. Sundance, Slamdance and SXSW had films this year, I read reviews on and saw trailers and I wanted to see now! For example, Slamdance jury winner The Dirties, a no budget film has nothing to lose by streaming PPV now. It will continue to play festivals for the next 12 months and the producers will make decent cash now rather than wait out a distributor with promises of a NYC/LA opening a year from now. There will be certain films that are part of the zeitgeist that simply cannot wait for that one year festival to art house screen distribution then VOD. Documentaries, great journalism fit this genre as do films that are nice audience specific. The problem with most 1st time filmmakers is they are looking for the 1st time big hit, The “Blair Witch Syndrome”, that model, friends is dead. Make and target your DIY film for your audience. It takes guts and a new brave way of making and distributing your film but it will pay off… as long as your film has something to say.

  • How can you be an indie filmmaker and not view this as a game changer? This breaks down so many barriers and eliminates SO many middle men. This is huge.

    • But it’s SO EASY for people to find problems with it and complaining, because that’s far less terrifying than creating something :-)

      Really excited to see how this all develops.

      • I agree, It is a game changer! the complaining will only come to those that are unprofessional and don’t know what they are doing, audience will quickly see and follow certain creators and soon we will see great films coming from here. I was excited to hear about this last year.

  • Looks promising! The design of your page reminds me of iTunes trailers. Could be a sweet spot for indie filmmakers.

  • Vimeo has always had a great taste when choosing videos for their ‘Vimeo Staff Pick’.
    I believe that they will recognize great films that are worth watching and ‘promote’ them. Right now, if your video gets a Vimeo Staff Pick batch, number of views siginficantly rise.

    So it’s a well known platform with great reptutation that has the power to promote great stuff. Good times1

  • Michael Bishop on 03.13.13 @ 10:10AM

    I have been a Vimeo Plus member for two years now. Will be starting my 3rd year this month. I
    will say I have not made a movie or video that I think anyone would pay to watch. Most of it has been with a Go Pro on a motorcycle of rides. Now I’m wanting to do more that that with video.

    I will say it was always been on my mine that with the increase in bandwidth going in to the homes. That if someone or a group is good enough to put together a 20 minute sitcom. They could get a fan base
    that a network might pick it up. I have been watching a lot of video on Vimeo the last few months. I’ve see a lot of good stuff . I love the stuff Whitestone Motion Pictures does. I think Vimeo is helping in get the ball rolling for film makers to make some money back for the work and effort they put in.

    I would like to say thanks for the Nofilmschool website for what it does. It is helping me learn a lot. Sometimes I think I might of got the wrong type of camera . I pick up a Canon VIXIA HF G10 camcorder but did get the low level DSLR Canon t3 for stills and play with video at times with it. Maybe one day I will get a better camera. So I’m new and setting back learning.

  • Deal breaker is that customers/viewers have to join vimeo.

  • what is keeping vimeo from selling movies via pay pal/credit card/whatever??? ok, maybe they`re dreaming to become something like ebay or amazon, websites that almost everyone HAS to be a registered user of, but I doubt that`s gonna happen, so they really should try to open up to everyone!

    • with “selling movies via paypal etc.” I mean: directly, no registration, no obstacles, no BS.

  • This article looks at the pros and cons of all the major players in the VOD scene for indie creators: Vimeo, iTunes, IndieFlix, Distribber, Distrify, VHX and others.

  • I hope they make friendly non-US payment scheme. In Russia now illegal to get paid at foreign bank account.

  • The movement inevitable. The burst for Young directors.
    I don’t mind for example have an account with the updates and links to my Facebook with the choice of film l like, events, festivals, TV series. Low cost monthly subscription will attract a lot of audience who as statistic says ready to pay 1 euro to watch a movie( 5-7) per month . The platform should have all the content though. It is always a long tough legal issue.
    It’s just the start. Hope with our comments and cooperation from customer side it will get adjusted in a best way.
    Good luck!

  • My interests are a bit different that those above.
    I make Metal Sculpture Instructional Videos.

    Currently have 33 DVDs – length from 60 to 90 minutes. ($39.95) ea.
    Up to now this has been a good business for a small niche market.
    But streaming is the future if not the present.

    I also have over 100 YouTube Videos which provides Adsense income.

    Looking down the road:
    Shipping costs for physical delivery keep climbing.
    Talk about creative – the shopping cart and merchant credit card people keep adding on extra fees.

    And then there is the upcoming Sales Tax (US) which is going to be a real nightmare, at least in the beginning.

    I would like to compact my videos into 15 min jam packed tutorials for $2.99.
    Have them streamed where someone else is processing the sale and depositing the money in my account.

    I’m hoping that Vimeo / Vimeo Pro / On Demand is the answer.

  • People, technically, do have to become Vimeo users, but they keep the process very simple and easy. So far, that has not been a major turn off for people looking at our film. I think the biggest drawback at this stage is that it seems like you have to watch the film right then when you download it, basically that the ONLY option is VOD, which is actually not the case. I have had many people question that with our project, which we uploaded last week, and I know that (even after I explain it), people still find it confusing. I have let Vimeo know and am hoping they change it in the future. I think a Watch Now or Download Now button would be a major improvement. Even better would be to be able to set 2 prices, which one film has that option, but that option is not available to everyone yet. The other important thing for filmmakers to know is that doing this still requires that the filmmakers promote the film. We see this as a compliment to the promotion and marketing we are already doing and to our upcoming DVD release, but not a replacement of it. Overall, I am happy with the number of loads and views we have gotten in our first week and I am hoping the number of purchases will grow as people come to understand that they can download it and watch anytime. — We have also been able to increase our outreach efforts for the film by sharing this link through Twitter and other social media outlets and recently were featured by ABC – Univision after they saw our update about the VOD release.

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