Vimeo has dug deeper into its wallet to fund original programming, unveiling a slate of three titles: a new season of drama “The Outs” and comedy specials from drag queen Bianca Del Rio and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Aidy Bryant.
The projects follow Vimeo’s first original production last year, pot-fueled comedy series “High Maintenance,” which has since been picked up by HBO. Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor said “High Maintenance” is the all-time best-selling title on the service.
Budgets for the three new originals are comparable to “High Maintenance,” with the six-episode run of “The Outs” from Adam Goldman and Sasha Winters in the “mid-six-figures,” according to Trainor.
“The budgets are not necessarily set by how much revenue we expect them to make,” Trainor said. “It’s not about taking our $10-plus million annual content investment head-to-head with Netflix’s $6 billion — we are targeting different creators and a much different product.”
Strategically, Vimeo wants the small pool of original content it’s backing to drive other creators onto its service. By the end of 2015, Trainor expects Vimeo On Demand to crest more than 1 million total buyers with more than 30,000 titles from nearly 10,000 individual creators.
The three new Vimeo originals, slated to debut over the next six months, are:
- “Bianca Del Rio’s Rolodex of Hate Comedy Special: Live from Austin” (December 2015): Roy Haylock’s hilariously hateful Bianca Del Rio, season six winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” is featured in Vimeo’s first stand-up comedy special. Executive produced by Haylock, David Charpentier and Jacob Slane for Producer Entertainment Group. Del Rio, whose influences include Joan Rivers, was named one of Variety‘s 10 Comics to Watch for 2015.
- “The Outs” (Q1 2016): Based on the web series, which debuted on the free Vimeo service in 2012, the six-episode second season of the drama about gay relationships picks up three years later. In that time Jack (Hunter Canning), Mitchell (Adam Goldman) and Oona (Sasha Winters) are a little older and a little more tired — but closer to figuring out what they want. “The Outs” is exec produced by Vaughn Schoonmaker and Goldman.
- “Darby Forever” (Q1 2016): Short film written by and starring Aidy Bryant of “SNL,” who plays Darby, a shop-girl at fabric store Bobbins & Notions set in a nameless town that is both ordinary and bizarre. Guest starring Marietta “Retta” Sirleaf (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) and Natasha Lyonne (“Orange Is the New Black”). Exec produced by Bryant and Jason Carden, directed by Oz Rodriguez.
As for how Vimeo has selected which projects to invest in, Trainor said, “It’s a combination of first and foremost what do we think is good and unique, and is this creator doing something that pushes things forward in terms of storytelling and visual approach.” Vimeo also weighs how large and passionate a creator’s fanbase is, he said.