UPDATED: Vimeo has scrapped its long-simmering plans to launch a subscription streaming-video product, which execs had positioned as a kind of Netflix for indie filmmakers and creators.
“Vimeo has confirmed that it has decided not to proceed in offering a subscription based original program service scheduled to begin in ’18,” the company said in a prepared statement.
The decision by Barry Diller’s IAC to axe the planned Vimeo SVOD service comes just three months after the company tapped Alana Mayo, previously VP of production at Paramount Pictures, as VP and head of original development. Vimeo also had hired Kesila Childers, former VP of digital media at Bunim-Murray Productions, as director of content development; and Kelly Miller, formerly with Hulu, as director of content acquisitions.
“This was a difficult decision – the idea of pursuing an SVOD service for Vimeo has always been intriguing, and I would have loved to see the incredibly talented Alana Mayo’s programming vision realized here at Vimeo,” Joey Levin, IAC CEO and interim chief exec of Vimeo, said in a statement. “She and her team are creative, sharp, risk-takers, and I believe will all, to a person, have an incredible future in programming. But the opportunity ahead for Vimeo to empower creators is too large and too important for us to attack with anything other than absolute focus and clarity.”
A Vimeo rep said Levin, who’s been acting CEO of Vimeo since the departure last summer of Kerry Trainor, would not be conducting interviews about the change in strategy.
Last fall, Levin had touted Vimeo as uniquely positioned to launch a subscription VOD service more cost-effectively than segments leaders like Netflix and Hulu. He had told investors that Vimeo would procure a “robust slate” of original and licensed programming “for tens of millions, not billions, of dollars.”
“Vimeo has the once-in-a-generation opportunity to, following in Netflix’s footsteps, deliver compelling subscription viewing experiences for consumers in the market for pay TV,” Levin wrote in a letter to IAC shareholders in November.
Vimeo’s core business continues to be 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. Vimeo ended the first quarter of 2017 with 800,000 creator subscribers, up 15% from the year-earlier period.