When Vimeo launched a few years back, its decision to take the quality road set it apart. Vimeo would be the site that would set itself apart with its high bar for the quality of its service, including top video encoding quality, and the high level of its users’ work.
Backed by Barry Dillar’s deep-pocketed IAC, taking the high road was a singular concern. Finally, the Internet had a company that was willing to promote quality documentaries, high-end personal projects, Siggraph animations and other premium work that had no big-time champion on the ‘net.
Well, you knew that couldn’t last long.
Ready for My Little Pony videos, Brony lovers? That’s right, the Chelsea-based company has announced that it’s Vimeo on Demand streaming service will be showing love for the Pony — as well as many thousands of other videos — in a new agreement with Cinedigm, one of the largest content distributors in the country.
Okay. That Pony-Brony shot was a little unfair. You can still visit and promote your work on Vimeo’s original site, which will stand separate from the streaming world. And Cinedigm isn’t all about hustling anime Ponies by any means. Nope, as the company notes on its site, it handles “next-gen Indies from Flatiron Film Company”, flicks from the Sundance Institute and Tribeca Films. You’ll also find a wide range of content from top shelf suppliers including National Geographic, Discovery, Scholastic, WWE, NFL, Shout Factory, Hallmark, Jim Henson and more.
Under the new partnership, Cinedigm plans to release a number of films “exclusively and non-exclusively” on Vimeo on Demand over the next year. The two companies will also create joint marketing plans that will promote the titles.
In a prepared statement, Sam Toles, VP of Content Acquisitions and Business Development at Vimeo said “As the largest independent distributor of content in the United States, Cinedigm controls an impressive catalog of over 52,000 films and television series from which we’ll curate titles for our fast growing, passionate audiences.”
You see, they had to try something besides art, because the competition is on fire.
The success of Netflix, Amazon and other new services has made video streaming and distribution more inviting than ever. Right now, the once desired for media future built around wall-sized TVs in suburban living rooms isn’t very attractive anymore. The content industry sees such big screen TV watching, fairly or unfairly, as the bailiwick of stodgy cable companies stuck to delivering shows to aging baby boomers in empty family rooms.
Vimeo wants a piece of the small screen, mobile future watching Millennials, so reaching out to create deals is a bet on capturing a place in OTT. That’s the quickly developing market of ‘over-the-top’ video coming in over the ‘net to smartphones and tablets. That’s the one place where media companies can find real opportunity for growing their bottom line.
Google is a bellwether company; it’s now pushing YouTube as the place for all those traditional TV advertising dollars to migrate. The Google Preferred advertising platform creates channels for brands so they can place ads against the top 5 percent of the most popular content in areas like entertainment and food.
Vimeo has never made much money, at least compared to huge players like Google and Facebook, or even the streaming services of Netflix and Amazon. But Dillar is smart about making money online; IAC owns the very profitable dating site Match.com, is a part owner of the fast-growing Tinder mobile dating app, and has search sites like About.com and Ask.com that are profitable, if not wildly so. Shacking up in the same company with those sites might not seem like the ideal match for Vimeo. But dating and search pay a good part of IAC’s freight. It’s heartening to see a big player like IAC take time to grow a video site that truly does take the high road, in the end.
Vimeo will also offer subscriptions, for those who want to keep out those pesky ads. That’s in the works for Vimeo by 2015 according to an interview with Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor on Re/code. CBS is already offering subscriptions, while YouTube is said to be planning to go that way too, along with HBO.
Getting your video over the ‘net is the way the content world is going. Vimeo will be there in one form or another.