Vessel Signs More YouTube Stars to Subscription Service, Launches Limited Beta Test


Vessel, the digital subscription-video startup founded by ex-Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, has signed more than a dozen YouTube stars and other partners to its service as it opens up the service in an invitation-only beta test.

Vessel’s $2.99-per-month promises exclusive early access to a range of digital-video content. To participate in the service, YouTubers and other creators must grant Vessel a minimum 72-hour exclusive window on the content, after which they’re free to distribute it anywhere.

It’s still unclear how many users Vessel will attract — especially as fans of Internet video are accustomed to not paying to watch it — but the startup continues to attract interest from YouTube stars.

Since announcing the service last month, Vessel has signed several new content partners, including: Anna Akana, Roman Atwood, Tanya Burr, Epic Meal Time, Ray William Johnson’s “Equals Three,” Explosm Entertainment, Connor Franta, Nerdist Industries, Arden Rose, Jimmy Tatro, Brittani Louise Taylor, Unbox Therapy, Jack Vale and Wassabi Productions.

Those join other partners who announced last month that they will make their videos available through Vessel’s “early access” offering. Those include YouTube multichannel networks Machinima, Tastemade and DanceOn; video creators like Rhett & Link, Shane Dawson, Marcus Butler, Caspar Lee and Ingrid Nilsen; traditional media companies, like A+E Networks; musicians and music companies, including Warner Music Group; and series and channels like IconicTV’s “Jay Z’s Life+Times” and Above Average Productions’ “Alec Baldwin’s Love Ride.”

Kilar’s pitch to YouTube creators is that they stand to rake in significantly more coin via his SVOD service than on free, ad-supported video networks. According to his analysis, creators typically earn $2-$3 per thousand views in revenue on ad-based services — whereas Vessel claims its content partners stand to earn in the neighborhood of $50 for every thousand views.

In addition to subscription fees, Vessel is selling ads for content outside the exclusive window (which is at least 72 hours but can be as long as creators wish). Those will typically be five-second pre-roll video ads. Vessel also is selling swipe-able poster ads in the guide.

Vessel, designed for mobile viewing, is available on Apple iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) and on the web. The startup said it will soon also release Vessel for Android devices, with other connected devices on the road map including gaming consoles, set-top boxes and smart TVs.

San Francisco-based Vessel has raised about $75 million from Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, and venture-capital firms Benchmark and Greylock Partners.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 7

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Jack says:

    So where is vessel now? dont here much about these guys.

  2. Muj says:

    Will this even work? Might just piss off Google who will just offer to buy them out and scrap it after.

  3. Gaby Bueno says:

    Worst part of this is that most of this Youtubers that have signed for this are already selling their products to the public, such as Tanya Burr cosmetics, Epic Meal Time Cook Book, shirts and cooking sets; Marcus Butler Merchandise and so on… And also are Youtubers that get paid to talk about products… We all know that Ingrid is the queen of sponsored content. So in my opinion this app is pointless. Great to know who were the ones who signed so we can know who are the ones more desperate for money and not for the content they are making, and let’s be honest… none of this Youtubers are the ones making “original” content.

  4. Really? They’re really gonna make people pay to watch a Youtube video a couple of days early? Do they literally think audiences are that desperate to see Marcus Butler do a ‘things that annoy me’ video that they’re going to pay to watch it on their iPhone, knowing it will be published on Youtube only two days later?? I mean, yes Youtube videos are funny and nice to watch, but it’ll hardly be like getting an exclusive premier of the new Hunger Games movie, will it? Also, by the sounds of it, it’ll only be available in the US? So most of the British Youtubers will actually be sharing their videos to a different country, before British audiences actually get to see it??
    I think it says a lot that the Youtubers I actually watch the most are the ones not signed up to this money-making scheme, both about me as an average viewer, and about them as creators. *Prays to god Dan and Phil don’t do this*

  5. anon says:

    Nope, glad I don’t subscribe to any of these channels anyway, if I did I would be unsubbing and not watching their content again, or using add block every single time. There is no youtube channel that I love enough to support this money grabbing move.

  6. Anon says:

    I kindof find this hard to believe and if these people are having money trouble, it’s understandable, if they’re not its kinda why the hell are you doing this???

More Digital News from Variety