Video platform Vimeo has announced that it is no longer plans to launch a paid streaming service. According to a report in Variety, the plan to turn the platform into a Netflix for indie filmmakers and creators was years in the making and had a full staff, but ultimately was too large a project for the company to undertake.
The company announced its intentions to build a streaming service last Fall, stating that they were uniquely positioned to become the next Netflix or Hulu. After all, Vimeo has a community of serious contributors who they could tap for original and licensed content.
The idea came off of the success of the popular web series "High Maintenance" which moved to HBO last year. The show was an example of the premiere work on the platform, as to distinguish from YouTube, and proved that people would be willing to pay for content on their site -- as users had to pay a la carte for episodes of the show. The problem was that the creators of High Maintenance had bigger ambition than a web series and wanted to go to TV -- where the real money and viewership is. Additionally, Vimeo has not been able to find similar success as High Maintenance -- at least not on the same scale.
Despite Vimeo's success and popularity of the site overall, they have struggled to define themselves. To the average viewer Vimeo is the more professional YouTube -- a place for serious video producers to put their work, but the real difference was always hard to truly grasp. The core of Vimeo's business is selling monthly video-hosting services and tools to creators and companies to offer advertising-free internet video, as well as managing SVOD and transactional services through its VHX unit -- a professional service not offered by YouTube.
Vimeo's announcement comes at the same time Facebook is set to announce its own plans for original content on its site. This could be a possible reason to why Vimeo pulled the plug on it's own project. Facebook has a much bigger built in userbase, and attracts the same creators that Vimeo does as a platform to share work. Where Vimeo goes from here we'll have to just wait and see.