Only 4 months after making an announcement that the premium indie streaming platform would be launching an SVOD service, Vimeo has now expanded the team needed to run that effort.
Kicking off with a trio of content hires, Vimeo has brought on Alana Mayo (pictured) as VP of Original Development from Paramount Pictures, Kesila Childers as Director of Content Development from Bunim Murray Digital and Kelly Miller as Director of Content Acquisitions from Hulu. Childers, who recently departed Bunim Murray after 8+ years, is set to report to Mayo while Miller will report into Derek Dressler, VP, Content Acquisitions at Vimeo.
The reigning SVP, GM of Vimeo Entertainment Group Sam Toles is also transitioning out of the company after three years leading content and business development.
Vimeo confirmed Toles departure but declined to comment on his next role.
Under his tenure, Toles led the acquisition of Vimeo’s flagship show “High Maintenence,” which later landed at HBO and was instrumental in the deals Vimeo landed with BBC Worldwide and All3Media as well as the push in 2015 for first window distribution for various influencer-driven projects including New Form Digital’s “Oscars Hotel”.
With Toles departure, however, Vimeo is likely to see a renewed vision for content strategy under the guidance of Mayo.
Vimeo doesn’t “want to be a niche player and it doesn’t have the budgets to be Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, so it’s going to try to be the digital version of paid cable — highly curated, ultra high-quality and premium with an interesting programming voice that is very defined, noisy and cuts through the clutter,” according to one executive familiar with Vimeo’s progress on the product.
The sentiment echoes interim CEO Joey Levin’s address to IAC investors last fall:
“On programming, we don’t intend to get into the multibillion dollar war on content. Our efforts here will be targeted…We will help some creators finance their content, and we will commission specific work that aligns with our audience based on consumption patterns, but we aren’t going to outspend the competition,” he said.
According to various sources in the industry with programming of interest to Vimeo, the company is already deep into its early development slate for the new subscription streaming channel. And orders for formats are looking strong with an average of 6 figure budgets, according to one content producer.
Those aren’t competitive budgets with the big three, but certainly take Vimeo into the race alongside niche distributors like Acorn TV, Crunchyroll and Seeso as well as those with a broader offering like Spotify, YouTube Red, Fullscreen, go90 and Facebook.
And for a service that is likely to be priced higher than the bottom rung ($2.99/$3.99/month) but lower than some of the leaders in the space like YouTube Red, which charges $9.99/month, the value proposition for consumers will have to be quite high.
Mayo and team may have a large task at hand as the latest entrant into the subscription streaming space, and with a seasoned product team, reinventing the platform is imminent. “Ultimately, our goal is for Vimeo to drive millions of subscriptions and transactions for our creators while also growing a proprietary subscriber base with millions of consumers directly,” Levin said in the Fall.