November 27, 2014
Is Vimeo The New Netflix? Streaming Service Invests In 'High Maintenance' Web Series

Vimeo is known throughout the web as the upscale YouTube. But the streaming service is taking things up a notch by investing in paid programs like the critically acclaimed web series High Maintenance. This move is now being seen as an attempt to enter the highly competitive paid streaming market.

"At $1.99 per episode, you can watch Brooklynites stress while waiting for their weed dealer to arrive whenever you'd like," the Decider says about High Maintenance. "The acclaimed anthology web series has been available to Internet users since 2012, but since partnering with Vimeo earlier this year, the series has drastically changed the landscape and discourse surrounding independent production, which reaffirms the blurring of web and television content."
And according to the Hollywood Reporter, the initial online video experiment for paid content has been a resounding success.
"Vimeo isn't disclosing viewership numbers, but CEO Kerry Trainor says High Maintenance generated more money in the first two days since charging for episodes than it would have with YouTube ad sales over the past two years. And the 13 previously available episodes have seen a surge in traffic, with the most popular free episodes topping 500,000 views."
What this all equates to is greater competition among streaming services, with Vimeo falling somewhere between YouTube and Netflix.
"Video streaming companies across the web have been pouring money into original programming to distinguish themselves from competitors (both online and off) and attract and retain more viewers," Wired explains. "The benefit is relative to the business model: For sites like YouTube, bolstering original programming (hopefully) will lead to more viewers, which brings more advertising revenue; for Netflix, it means more subscribers joining and (fingers crossed) staying with the service."
And what of Vimeo business model? Wired explains their motive may be slightly different which puts them in a slightly different category than YouTube or Netflix.
"For Vimeo, the best explanation is an original series will draw attention to its relatively new Vimeo On Demand service, a library of nearly 14,000 titles customers can purchase a la carte like they might from iTunes."
Either way, the bottom line is that the lines for entertainment are completely blurred. With original series like Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards garnering Emmy Nominations, and even Amazon jumping into the original content arena last year, there are more ways than ever for consumers to watch original programming.

And for Vimeo, it doesn't matter if the viewer is "High Maintenance" or not, as long as they're willing and able to pay for it.

[Image via Wired]