In an attempt to retain its biggest users and attract more premium content, video sharing site Vimeo is planning to introduce an on-demand, pay-per-view element to its existing service.
The site, the second-largest video sharing platform behind YouTube, currently makes its money from subscriptions, advertising and voluntary donations.
Announced at SXSW, the new service will be called Vimeo On Demand and although it won't offer live streaming, it will offer viewers the chance to rent or buy premium content with prices expected to range from 99 cents to roughly $6.
The company hopes that the introduction of this new service will attract interest from independent filmmakers and from major Hollywood studios, though Vimeo's CEO, Kerry Trainor was understandably vague about who the company had approached or what the response had been.
In a blog post that appeared on the company's site to coincide with the annoucement, Blake Whitman explained that the service is targeted at its Vimeo Pro users as a means of helping them monetize their creative endeavors: "If you're a Vimeo PRO member, you can distribute your work the way you want, with all the power of Vimeo's HD player, easy-to-use tools, and wildly passionate audience," he writes. The service also ensures a 90%/10% revenue split between the creator and Vimeo.
Google recently confirmed that it was also considering a paid-for subscription model on YouTube for accessing premium content. Vimeo has grown incredibly quickly over the last nine years. It has over 15 million members and 93 million views a month, according to Trainor. However, YouTube is still the undisputed king of online video. Across its top 1,000 channels alone, there are 400 million subscribers generating 11.3 billion views every month.