Back in March, YouTube competitor/indie haven Vimeo announced Vimeo On Demand, a dedicated area of the site which allows filmmakers to make money off of their work. Vimeo On Demand tested the waters of pay-to-view content with a variety of programming including, most prominently, the Kristen Bell-starring film “Some Girl(s),” which launched in June.
Taking the push for more original, Hollywood-style content further, Vimeo has announced that they will offer a $10,000 advance to independent filmmakers willing to launch their projects via its VOD service. The offer has been made available to any films premiering from September 5–15 at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The current revenue split for content sold through Vimeo On Demand varies from case to case, but the rumored amount is somewhere around 90–10. Vimeo has adopted a similar model to Chill.com, which also allows creators to sell their content online. However, Vimeo’s revenue split seems to be designed to pull creators away from Chill’s higher 70–30 split.
Additionally, Vimeo is looking to harness their status as an established independent content provider, something sites like Chill and VHX have yet to earn. Receiving a blessing from a prestigious event like the Toronto International Film Festival will only serve to increase that indie credibility similar platforms may be lacking.
For Vimeo’s $10,000 advance, the video platform will receive 30-day exclusive rights to any participating content. After that — or until said content makes back the advance — content creators will be free to sell their content to online distributors the likes of Netflix and Amazon.
Without bogging down the site with pre-roll ads, Vimeo has made a concentrated effort to provide their creators with additional sources of revenue; VOD has been the site’s biggest breakthrough in terms of selling content. However, with Vimeo being known as an outlet for independent creators, much of VOD’s content is the indie, shoestring fare one expects to see on on the site.
With this move towards locking down exclusive independent content, Vimeo hopes to become a home for young filmmakers looking to cut their teeth outside of the Hollywood system. As Netflix took in content rejected or deemed too far out by mainstream television, perhaps Vimeo will find its true voice in “breaking” fringe films and filmmakers.