March 11, 2014

Unveiled at SXSW, the Redesigned Vimeo on Demand Will Help Your Audience Find Your Films

Following the announcement of their plan to invest $10M to help support filmmakers utilizing Vimeo on Demand for direct distribution, Vimeo has unveiled their newly redesigned VOD platform at SXSW. The new design is aimed at creating a more organized way to discover and browse films using both genre categories and their new "film collections" feature. What does this mean for indie filmmakers? Well, a more user-friendly experience will help audiences navigate the site and bring more potential viewers to your film. Continue on to find out more about Vimeo's new changes, as well as how you could potentially get your hands on a piece of that $10M.

The Vimeo On Demand redesign is pretty sleek and much more organized. Features include a personalized "Library" for your previously rented and purchased films, a link to browse 18 different film genres, as well as a"Discover" drop-down menu that takes you to several different themed film collections (including four premium collections created by Vimeo for the relaunch) , like the "Patagonia" collection, which showcases "ecologically minded titles."

Also, each film's page is a one stop shop for everything that film has to offer. The large buttons make watching trailers and buying/renting films easy. Customizable pages allow users to mimic the style of their films. Special content, like trailers, synopses, reviews, studio profiles, and a bunch of other bits of information can be found on each page, so really, checking out a film's page is kind of like entering into that film's universe.

That, along with the better navigation of the redesign, may not only help more people find your film, but get them interested, connected, and hopefully, invested. Oh, and I'm sure that $10M investment Vimeo announced last week couldn't hurt either. Their Audience Development Program is there to help build an audience for the growing amount of independent content on Vimeo on Demand. Here's what Vimeo has to say about it:

Last week, we told people that we're pouring serious moolah into our new Audience Development Program. Here's how it works: We've got a shoebox at the office with $10 million in it. We'll use that money to support Vimeo On Demand titles (and creators) that have raised over $10,000 on select crowdfunding platforms or been accepted to certain film festivals. For those over-achieving titles, we'll make websites, do translating and subtitling, and generally ensure more people see them!

More specifically, the program offers recipients one free year of Vimeo PRO in exchange for distribution on Vimeo On Demand. If you're chosen by the Curation Team, you'll receive financial and accessibility support, meaning "marketing, creation of a promotional website, as well as captioning and subtitling of your title in exchange for an exclusive window on Vimeo on Demand."

To break down where the money's going, Vimeo lists several initiatives the $10M will fund.  From their press release:

  • Expansion of Crowdfunding Program: Vimeo is expanding on its crowdfunding program announced at the 2014 Sundance Festival by extending access to part of its $10 million fund to select titles that have successfully raised $10,000 or more through a leading crowdfunding platform in exchange for an exclusive window on Vimeo On Demand.
  • Expansion of Film Festival Program: Building on its successful 2013 Toronto Film Festival program, Vimeo will use the $10 million fund to offer guaranteed funding in exchange for an exclusive distribution window to any film that has premiered at one of the 20 leading global film festivals throughout 2014.
  • Expansion of Title and Catalog Acquisitions: Vimeo will work with filmmakers and distributors to accelerate its investment in quality individual titles and catalogs suited to Vimeo’s unique audience.
  • Vimeo PRO Grants: In addition to direct financial support for exclusive distribution partnerships, filmmakers that have successfully raised $10,000 or more through crowdfunding or have had a film premiere at one of the 20 leading global film festivals in 2014 will be granted one year of Vimeo PRO for free with distribution on Vimeo On Demand.

In order for your film to be eligible for support, it has to meet at least one of these criteria:

  • Over $10,000 raised on one of the following crowdfunding platforms in 2013 or 2014: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or Seed & Spark
  • Premiered at one of the film festivals listed on their website (in 2014)

What do you think about Vimeo's new initiatives? Do you think the new Vimeo on Demand will help bring audiences to independent films, or will filmmakers still have to count on chasing them down themselves? Let us know your thoughts on the redesign and the Audience Development Program in the comments below.

Links:

[via Indiewire]

Your Comment

26 Comments

still in 1080 though?

March 11, 2014 at 9:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Oh, the horror!

March 12, 2014 at 10:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Swissted

There are a lot new gear review videos on Vimeo and, with a lot of the new gear being in 4K - Red, BMPC4K, GH4, FS-7004K, etc. - one may as well look at the footage the way the camera makers intended it.

March 12, 2014 at 11:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

the audience doesn't care what it's shot on.

March 12, 2014 at 12:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The online market simply doesn't have enough 4K viewers to bother with it yet.

March 12, 2014 at 1:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kevin

There simply are not enough 4K screens in consumers/pros yet. If it's streaming in 4K it won't matter if the viewer is watching it on their 1080 screen.

March 12, 2014 at 3:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Phil

If I see a sample video shot on a brand new 4K camera to show just how advanced its image is, I am perplexed why a site allegedly catering to such presentations should disable this camera's main selling point. As an example, let's say, you're comparing two cameras in the same price range - GH4 vs. DB 16. In 720p, they'll look nearly identical. In 1080p, GH4 might have an edge. In 1440, GH4 will have a huge edge and in 4K (2160), the DB 16 will seem like a remnant from the 60's. YouTube offers all these options and more, with 144, 240, 360, 480, 720, 1080, 1440 and 2160 resolutions. Why should Vimeo be held to lower standards, especially since it charges pros for their channels?
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By the way, given the current broadband speeds and compression codecs, 1440 (2.5K) should be accessible to anyone right now but Vimeo is not offering it. 4K may indeed require a bit too much bandwidth for an average household. However, VP9 is and HEVC should be available to Vimeo (aside of the PPV) free of charge and that ought to help them make a fairly easy transition to better IQ. Or maybe folks are content to be watching the 6K Red Dragon samples in 1080p. I know I am not.

March 12, 2014 at 10:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

As cool as this is for filmmakers, I'm even more excited as a film watcher!

March 11, 2014 at 11:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ryan

The problem with Vimeo on Demand is the fact that potential viewers have to register(!). Is it still a requirement? Or did they change that? It's a little bit like going to a movie theatre and at the cash register they ask you to become a member, so you can pay and watch.

March 12, 2014 at 12:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marcel

Agreed. I think they should either offer a subscription service, where you pay a monthly fee and watch anything you like, or allow the viewer to pay for a specific film and watch it without additionally having to deal with the registration process. Or maybe offer both options.

March 12, 2014 at 5:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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You have to register for Netflix as well to watch. No its nothing like going to a movie house and asking to buy a ticket. How else do you propose Vimeo get payments if not by by a user registering? It takes five minutes to enter your details....

Slamdance Film festival has just unveiled their deal with Vimeo although worldwide regions in effect. Not happy about that...

https://vimeo.com/slamdance/videos

March 12, 2014 at 7:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan

@Dan. Other VOD platforms, including VHX and Distrify, allow you to purchase a film and watch it without having to register with them. For many viewers that makes things a lot simpler. Netflix is a monthly subscription service, therefore quite different from Vimeo on Demand.

March 12, 2014 at 8:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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well I just went to both sites VHX and Distrify to view films and they ask me to sign up before going further.

March 12, 2014 at 10:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan

@Dan. I tried the same thing on both platforms and I can easily get to the paypal or credit card payment page without having to register. I suppose you can sign up if you want to, so that you don't have to enter your payment details every time you purchase a video on the same platform, but that is not a requirement in order to buy or rent the video.

March 12, 2014 at 10:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Well on video they have the Basic member witch is free. I guess they still have it. I have been a plus member starting my 4th year now. I do think Vimeo should let people that just want to watch films do so with out getting a account on the On Demand.

March 12, 2014 at 9:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Michael Bishop

I should have type on Vimeo sorry.

March 12, 2014 at 9:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Michael Bishop

"Expansion of Title and Catalog Acquisitions: Vimeo will work with filmmakers and distributors to accelerate its investment in quality individual titles and catalogs suited to Vimeo’s unique audience."
Here's the thing - as YT found out, if you don't actually fund decent content, you can't reach an audience big enough to make the model work.
$10M is a ridiculously small amount, unless they're spending it on 1, maybe 2 docs or Blumhouse style horrors to drive traffic. However, anything decent will be pirated in seconds so you can't look at it as a profit center.
Subscription based on current content wouldn't work. Even with enhanced content - Vimeo just doesn't have the library, or the pockets to build one.
Vimeo should instead concentrate on its PRO product, and add decent annotation tools to dominate the client/prodco market. Its already 1/2 way there.
Needs 4K playback yesterday, and a better compression codec for 1080. Vimeo's rep as the 'good' upload service is actually being threatened by purveyor of nastiness YT (which has 4K playback, password protection and basic annotation tools).
That's not good. :-)
This month we turned off off our multiple PRO and PLUS accounts in favor of a (cheaper, better) boutique client video service and we'll just use YT and a basic Vimeo account for anything public.

March 12, 2014 at 11:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

And who decides what is listed first? Payola? Or most watched?

March 12, 2014 at 11:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeremy C

Could someone at NFS please write a comparison of Vimeo on Demand, Distrify, and VHX?

March 12, 2014 at 12:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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To all of you commenting re: Vimeo requiring visitors to the site to register in order to watch content, you're not thinking about the big picture. It's all about good business practice and where the true value is for any online company and that's subscriber lists. How many fans, subscribers, followers, mailing lists etc. one has is where the true value is with any online enterprise because thats where the value is in the eyes of advertisers.

Encouraging (okay, forcing) new users to register is a way of retaining them, its forced loyalty but it builds the brand and strengthens the longterm prospects for the brand. Everyone is trying to carve out their own corner in what is the wild west of the internet and having a massive database of names and contacts is where all the power is.

March 12, 2014 at 1:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Neil

Umm...vimeo doesn't have ads.

March 12, 2014 at 4:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Umm... Bother to read my second paragraph or were you too busy missing the point which was there is massive business value in having a large subscriber base. No point having massive traffic if you can't keep it in your back pocket.

March 12, 2014 at 7:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Neil

Really kinda bummed that most of the competitions/promotions whatever these days require more than just a great film. Like this here, to get support you need to have raised over $10k in crowdfunding. And I saw the RODE film contest, you have to enter a behind the scenes making of video with your film. What if it's already shot and edited? Guess I can't enter... What if I didn't crowd fund my film? Guess I can't enter... What if my film wasn't accepted at a festival? Guess I can't enter... Seems like these days it's starting to be that the actual film is the thing that matters the least. And the kicker is that these promotions state they are all about independent film making, but really they only people who can enter these things have to be already pretty well funded. So now that the cost of the tech to make a great film has come down to almost nothing, micro budget film makers are still getting screwed out of access anyway, from organizations that state their mission is to help small budget films. Lol, I love the future!

March 14, 2014 at 11:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ryan Maelhorn

I understand your frustration, but one thing to consider is that many festivals charge a fee just for submitting, let alone actual inclusion in the program. With many of these corporate-sponsored competitions, the required use of their products is just another form of submission fee (although you keep the equipment you purchased, so you have something to show for the cost besides a rejection letter).

As for the Vimeo and Rode programs in particular, they're both business investments, and that means those receiving the invested funds must have a track record, an established audience (as evidenced by a successful crowdfunding campaign) or both.

Entering the film industry as a creative professional has never been easier. But it's still not easy. ; )

March 14, 2014 at 3:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I agree. Worries me how Vimeo seems to be changing the search feature making small budget films harder to find and aligning itself with the same big budget corporate mentality festivals who claim to be true indie. And Patagonia pics to boot? oy scary... Hopefully Vimeo understands the mistakes of NETFLIX, Amazon, Youdube and Adsense who ride the back off of us true indies to get where they are now. Who knows a better video uploading site might just come along someday who puts money in all our pockets.

March 24, 2014 at 3:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Angry Artist

You make some good points Dave, and I certainly don't begrudge companies for wanting to make money and see a return on their investment. It just sucks that these days when you enter a film competition, the actual film seems to be the least important element.

March 15, 2014 at 5:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ryan Maelhorn