Vimeo is moving into a new area of video on demand that may change the way films are released. If you are a member of Vimeo PRO ($199 a year) you can see certain films released there long before they are in wide release.
In VOD for Everyone? Vimeo’s Blake Whitman Tells Us About Opening Up Self-Distribution With Vimeo On Demand, Blake Whitman, Vimeo’s VP of Creative Development, is quoted as saying,
I think it’s a natural progression — we’ve been a platform for video creators to share and distribute their work. Distribution has different meanings for different people — and for filmmakers that means actually selling and seeing revenue for work that they’re making. Vimeo on Demand, that’s the next step of self-distribution. We make tools for individual creators — how can we help them make money for what they do? We think we’re in a great place now with the platform we’ve created and the audience that we built to really take a step into that arena and hopefully help filmmakers all over the world.
That was where Vimeo started with the VOD idea back in March. This is still true with Vimeo. Anyone can distribute a film there.
Vimeo has taken its business model to a new level by actively seeking films to add to its video on demand library.
An independent film I supported on Kickstarter and am interested in seeing is Cinemanovels, directed by Terry Miles and starring Lauren Lee Smith and Jennifer Beals. Recently it was announced that Cinemanovels and 9 other films from The Toronto International Film Festival will premier on Vimeo VOD.
According to Vimeo Offers TIFF World Premieres $10,000 Advance for Digital Rights, this is a boost to the indie filmmaker as well as an opportunity for the eager viewer to get in on a film before it makes it to a general release. Buying first rights to films is a new step since the announcement in March that filmmakers could put their work on Vimeo VOD.
At $199 a year, Vimeo PRO isn’t going to compete with YouTube, but it certainly can be competition for Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. This new business model from Vimeo really opens things up for independent filmmakers by giving them a distribution channel that didn’t exist before.