When it comes to subscription-based streaming, everything is thought of in terms of Netflix. Spotify is hailed as “the Netflix of music”. Oyster and Kindle Unlimited are the “Netflix of books”.
Word of Vimeo introducing a subscription model, then, automatically conjures up images of a Netflix-style service, with a collection of Vimeo-branded original offerings (such as the web series High Maintenance) available on an all-you-can-eat basis. But what the VOD platform has come up with is a smart take on SVOD that is all its own: a DIY Netflix service that anyone can create.
From today, creators who use Vimeo On Demand to sell their videos can now sell them as part of a subscription, as well as via rental or purchase.
By creating a subscription series with Vimeo On Demand, users can offer audiences the chance to pay a recurring monthly fee in exchange for unlimited streaming access to any of their videos – something that, as Vimeo points out, could work for things as diverse as instructional videos, as well as for more traditional web series.
Creators can set their own price for rental, purchase and monthly subscription, while the videos will be available to sell through the website, as well as through embedded players. They can also choose whether videos will be available worldwide or only in specific regions, as well as offer incentives, such as free episodes, trial subscriptions, and bonus features.
When someone subscribes to a series, sellers still keep 90 per cent of the revenue, after transaction costs.
Rather than sell an independent project directly to a subscription service, therefore, creators can now simply create their own Netflix and offer that to users instead. Will audiences be willing to pay for an additional subscription fee on top of other VOD services? That is another matter entirely. But just as digital platforms democratised distribution, Vimeo On Demand has done the same for SVOD, allowing anyone, in theory, to become the next Netflix.