Vimeo Starts $10 Million Fund to Lure Filmmakers to Its Platform
Vimeo LLC, the video-streaming site owned by billionaire Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI), is committing $10 million to a fund to persuade film creators to sell their content through its on-demand movie service.
The money will go toward acquiring films for Vimeo’s catalog, the company said today in a statement. Filmmakers will be paid for exclusive distribution of movies that premiered at film festivals or raised at least $10,000 through crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter Inc.
Vimeo is looking to expand sales after its profile was boosted in a reorganization within IAC, which has a history of grooming internal units for potential spinoffs. Unlike competitors such as Google Inc.’s YouTube, Vimeo makes money by charging for subscriptions to upload high-quality video, which customers can then sell or rent to viewers. The new fund will help bring established filmmakers to the platform, said Kerry Trainor, chief executive officer of Vimeo.
“There’s an incredibly robust world of independent, high-quality content that can attract an audience that wants to pay for it,” he said in an interview. “Going after content that can be well served by other platforms is as much a reason as it is about the audience.”
Vimeo was started in 2004 by a group of filmmakers who needed a place to share their professional and personal videos. At the time, Vimeo was a project owned by Connected Ventures LLC, which also oversaw comedy site CollegeHumor.com. Then in 2006, IAC acquired 51 percent of its parent, bringing Vimeo into the ranks of Diller’s holding company.
In its on-demand service, Vimeo charges filmmakers as much as $199 a year to upload their work for distribution. The resulting programming carves a niche between YouTube’s puppy videos and Netflix Inc.’s streamed series. The platform has amassed more than 6,000 videos since its debut a year ago, the company said.
Revenue climbed 60 percent in the 12 months through September to $40 million, the most recent numbers the company would disclose.
Trainor’s status within IAC rose in December, when he began reporting directly to Diller, the chairman. In a move meant to bring a sharper focus to IAC’s grab bag of Internet companies, the Match dating services were separated into their own unit to be led by IAC’s CEO at the time -- setting the stage for their potential spinoff.
While Vimeo is growing quickly, it’s still puny compared with the bigger divisions of New York-based IAC. The search-and-advertising unit, with companies like About.com and Ask.com, represented more than half of IAC’s $3 billion in revenue last year, while Match.com drew about a quarter.
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