Vimeo Offers Content Creators a New Way to Get Paid for Their Videos

Sam Collins Media' Ball of Light from Vimeo
Ball of Light by Sam Collins Media (now eligible for tipping)

Earlier this week, Vimeo announced that they would be launching a virtual “tip jar.” The idea is that if you’re watching a video, you may want to thank the creator for his or her time and hard work with some real, non-virtual cash, payable via PayPal. Vimeo will take a 15% cut for the privilege.

It’s an interesting move by Vimeo, the video site that has built a reputation for “creative” filmmaking and video creation, stressing quality over quantity, and making a commitment to content creators and artists. It sits in a very different video site niche than the YouTube, the dominant player in the field, which is primarily geared quantity, and has actually been playing catch-up in courting more sophisticated video creation.

Their approaches are reflected in the ways creators make money, too. On YouTube creators can sign up to become partners, meaning their videos will have advertising on top. This advertising is secured by YouTube, and they take a cut. There are nuances to this model of course, but primarily it’s driven by the number of views a creator and his or her videos receive, and it relies on a third-party advertiser. That means that if you’re a creator, you need to be getting tons of eyeballs to a video that matches up easily with the kinds of folks an advertiser wants to reach. It’s very much the same model as television.

Vimeo’s virtual tip jar cuts out that 3rd party advertiser, and lets creators appeal directly to fans. That means it’s not just about the number of eyeballs on your videos: it’s about whether those viewers are willing to support you and your work. Think of the Kickstarter model: 2 donors at $100 each are worth the same as 10 donors at $20.  And in that environment, success means making yourself accessible to your audience, creating a community, and cultivating the kinds of folks who can and will support you.

Vimeo for iPhone

Yesterday, Vimeo announced the launch of their official iPhone app. Preliminary tests indicate that it’s not shabby, and its especially impressive considering that this release is the first iteration of this product.  The app is all things video; watching, recording, editing and even delivering video to Vimeo’s site. Although the app isn’t perfect, Vimeo for iPhone is a solid offering.

The Vimeo for iPhone app is portrait-oriented; unless you’re shooting or viewing video, it wants to be vertical. When I first logged into the app, the default category presented is ‘My Stuff’, which is essentially a list of videos made by folks that I follow on Vimeo.  Across the top of the screen we find buttons allowing me to quickly check my video inbox (default view), buttons for things that I like and other buttons for things I’ve saved to watch later.  Across the bottom of the screen, there are additional buttons for the other functions of the app including options to “like” your own videos/recordings, browsing and account maintenance features. The videos you’ve uploaded to Vimeo can be viewed as a  list or as thumbnails, and sorted by date or by number of views. The search function returns real-time results, which is a search feature that we’ve all come to know and love.

Video-sharing is key to any modern social marketing campaign, and the Vimeo community is one of the most vibrant on the modern web.  If you make or share online video for your business, or even just for fun, this app is a must-have.