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.


[via Indiewire]