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Vimeo Offers Toronto Film Festival Entrants $10,000 for First-Run Digital Rights

Filmmakers must grant 30-day exclusive digital window to Internet video site to receive cash advance

Toronto Film Festival TIFF
Sonia Recchia/Getty Images

Vimeo is teaming with the Toronto International Film Festival to offer all 146 of this year’s world premieres a $10,000 cash advance in return for a 30-day exclusive digital distribution window on the Internet video site.

Under the offer, filmmakers must grant Vimeo an exclusive digital window for 30 days or until the website recoups the $10,000 (in U.S. dollars). After that, the website will provide its standard 90/10 revenue split, with 90% going to the content owners. Filmmakers will still be able to pursue traditional distribution vehicles as well as other online platforms after the exclusivity window.

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“We’ve all seen independent filmmakers trying to find traditional ways to find an audience — the traditional DVD model is not as relevant as it used to be,” said Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival. Teaming with Vimeo made sense, he said, because “it’s a known quantity to independent filmmakers… It’s a very stable and sophisticated way of watching films online.”

SEE ALSO: Toronto International Film Festival Completes Lineup, Highlights Musical Offerings

The Vimeo On Demand service lets filmmakers set price, viewing format (stream or download) and geographical availability. Since the company bowed the service in March, Vimeo On Demand has grown to a global catalog of more than 2,000 titles.

Vimeo’s service is aimed at giving indie filmmakers a new distribution option, CEO Kerry Trainor said. “Instead of having it be binary — either traditional theatrical, DVD or cable VOD, or nothing — we are excited to offer the platform either as a primary avenue or as a complement to other windows,” he said.

The company has just started to approach TIFF filmmakers about gauging their interest in the program, Trainor said. TIFF runs Sept. 5 to 15, 2013, and will present 366 films (including 288 features, of which 146 are world preems).

New York-based Vimeo, founded in 2004, is a unit of IAC. The website has 20 million registered members and reaches more than 100 million unique viewers monthly.

Separately, Toronto International Film Festival is working with YouTube to screen the 40 films in its Short Cuts Canada program at YouTube.com/TIFF 24 hours after their fest premieres and to be available until Sept. 19, 2013.