Would You Pay To Watch Select Vimeo Content?

Vimeo recently rolled out a Tip Jar feature for it’s content creators, where you can tip a donation to the artist. Coming up next for Vimeo is a Pay-To-View service, where audiences will actually have to pay to watch the video. It’s controlled solely by the creators, but will Vimeo take a cut of the money, like they do with the tip jar?

In a world where there are literally millions of videos you can find (the search term “cat” reveals more than 2 million alone on YouTube) it can become increasingly difficult to find quality content amidst the ocean of garbage that’s out there. Creatives and viewers who are hungry for well-produced, interesting content, can often find themselves going to Vimeo since it caters more towards filmmakers than YouTube does. I've personally found so many amazing pieces of work and I've become connected in real life with some of these people through what they've been able to post and I've been able to watch on Vimeo.

As more independent content creators become popular through Vimeo, it’s easy to imagine that they might seek a way to monetize their efforts. This Vimeo service will give those creators a platform to do just that, all while controlling certain distribution aspects. Not all of the details have been made clear, but a beta release has been set up for a few select films (the ones seen in the video).

The tip jar feature is a nice touch, but keep in mind that Vimeo takes a 15% cut on every donation. Does Vimeo really need this to pay the bills? It’s true that Vimeo doesn’t beat us over the head with advertisements (at least not for Plus users) but I wonder if they will seek the same cut for pay-to-view.

So, do you think this will catch on, and those amazing artists will make some decent money? Or do you think this will fall flat, and no one will watch these pay-to-view films since they are used to being able to watch anything that they want? Personally, I’m interested and scared all at the same time to see how many creators will enable this feature on their work… I love going on to Vimeo and watching the latest and greatest the world has to offer, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to pay $5 a video for it. And I certainly won’t pay it to watch somebody’s cat chase a laser pointer.

Mike Wilkinson's picture

Mike Wilkinson is an award-winning video director with his company Wilkinson Visual, currently based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Mike has been working in production for over 10 years as a shooter, editor, and producer. His passion lies in outdoor adventures, documentary filmmaking, photography, and locally-sourced food and beer.

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It would seem as though this would suddenly cause a lot of vimeo content to be only available though a pay per view. So the quantity of quality free content maybe be reduced signifcantly. I think they should find a more clever less imposing way of making money on their website or ways of slowly intergrating pay content without affecting the free content.

Maybe they could have some kind of Early Access system where videos are only available through pay to view system for a length of time or until some amount of views is made. Then it reverts into free content.

How about intergrating a version of Kickstarter just for video production? They could make money on videos before they are even made and have the content available for free.

I would not pay to watch it. I would just simply skip the pay-per-view videos. As a result, I would also skip the advertisements, so for advertisers it will become less attractive to advertise on pay-per-view videos.

I think people will also move away from Vimeo to another (free to publish, free to watch) provider. And advertisers will probably move to the crowd also.

And Vimeo? They will cash some money, then sell Vimeo to Google or Facebook and cash some more.

Maybe a good way for small budget stuff to get distribution, like that timelapse movie, or tutorials that regularly costs money. Instead of dealing with buying a physical copy, or download off the production company, this could maybe be their place. 

But I feel like a lot of people will think they can make millions off this, and it will result in no one watching their videos. Maybe it would be easier if you could see the first 5 min for free?

I don't begrudge movie makers the opportunity to make some money back from their creations.

However being a technical/camera geek type - I think the most likely types of films I'd pay for would be instructional - think your Kelby training, JoeyL, Zack Arias, CreativeLive types - BUT most of those already have a system in place and are quite expensive (for me).
Maybe smaller videos so they would be cheaper.

I also think the Tips Jar is an Ok idea. But to give I think I'd have to find something really quite special. Cue tipping discussion scene in reservoir dogs.
Creative pieces are more likely to benefit from tips than fees.

I think taking 15% is a bit high - I would have expected 5-10% at most.

nope. wouldn't pay. would just watch something else.