In terms of online video platforms, YouTube is king. But Vimeo, which has pegged its brand on showcasing quality videos, is gaining traction.
Vimeo, founded in 2004, has more than 70 million unique monthly visitors, according to company statistics. In August, the platform hosted Old Spice’s interactive music video starring former football player Terry Crews, which has received more than 7.8 million hits.
The campaign was the first major one to appear on the site, and the company told The Atlantic that it was poised to work with more companies for advertising. It recently concluded a contest in conjunction with the release of “The Cabin in the Woods,“ which was open to all filmmakers who upload 10-minute or shorter videos to the site. The winner will receive $10,000.
While YouTube is free for anyone to use, and doesn’t have particular standards for content, Vimeo “is known for high quality, high definition HD videos and a surprising lack of commercial content and advertising,” writes Parneet Gosal of SeedWalker. This, along with a few of its pioneering strategies, have contributed to the site’s rise in popularity.
In 2007, it “became the Internet’s first video sharing site to deploy Flash-based, consumer-focussed HD playback — meaning users didn’t have to install any plug-ins to view the high definition content,” according to CNNMoney’s John Patrick Pullen. “They also progressed from allowing 5 megabytes of uploading per week when the site launched, to 20 megabytes, then 250 megs, then 500.” Video creators are also attracted to the site because there are no ads embedded within the uploads; Instead, the site is funded mainly through subscription services.
At the beginning of this year, Vimeo introduced a new design that better showcased video. The redesign was cleaner than the old site, and, according to Mashable, “yielded great results.” In March, it brought in a new CEO, Kerry Trainor, who oversaw AOL’s video and entertainment properties, as reported by All Things D.
Vimeo announced in September that it had created a tip jar for Vimeo Plus and Vimeo Pro members, who pay for accounts. Essentially, writes Christina Warren of Mashable, “viewers will be able to show their appreciation for a video or clicking a ‘Tip this video’ link. At that point, users can give from $0.99 – $500 to the video. Payments are handled using PayPal or a credit card and users don’t even have to be logged into Vimeo to tip.” In addition, she says that in 2013, filmmakers will be able to put their works behind paywalls and decide how much they want to charge for people to see it.
While Vimeo has always been the underdog to YouTube, it seems that the site has carved its niche in the public eye this year. With the possibilities for monetization and brand collaboration, the site seems to be on an upward path. Trainor attributes his company’s recent success to its creative edge. “Vimeo is the high-quality video sharing site, specifically for creative people, and we are rewarded with that because we are doing something distinctly different,” he said.