Vimeo’s Identity Struggle Continues as Business Pivots Back into “Creator-centric” Focus
Last year Vimeo lost CEO Kerry Trainor. A few months later, interim CEO and IAC Board Member Joey Levin said the company would not chase SVOD businesses like Netflix and Hulu. Then, in November, the company flipped that strategy and announced a paid subscription plan for 2018. Today, Vimeo has shuttered those plans and will now focus on the creative community on the platform. It has also reduced the staff to not include the original programming team it had hired earlier this year, which includes Alana Mayo from Paramount and Kesila Childers from Bunim/Murray Digital Productions.
“This was a difficult decision — the idea of pursuing an SVOD service for Vimeo has always been intriguing and I would have love to see the incredibly talented Alana Mayo’s programming vision realized here at Vimeo,” said Levin in an email statement to VideoInk. “She and her team are creative, sharp, risk-takers, and I believe will all, to a person, have an incredible future in programming.” Vimeo had been recruiting executives in development but had a small team of five.
The company will still use its acquired business VHX to power SVOD services within the Vimeo platform, just not its own standalone product.
“…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,” added Levin.
“Many of the big-ticket SVOD networks launched by media companies the last few years built their own custom systems, which can take months–if not years– and cost millions of dollars to develop and maintain,” said Jamie Wilkinson, GM, OTT Services, at Vimeo.
It hasn’t been a secret that Vimeo faced an uphill battle in competing in an already-cluttered SVOD market for wallet share. With a rumored $10 million budget for originals it’s clear how Vimeo would struggle to buy against others in the market, like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu whose budgets trump Vimeo three-fold, at a minimum.
“On programming, we don’t intend to get into the multibillion dollar war on content,” Levin noted in his letter to shareholders last year following Trainor’s departure. “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.”
It appears, despite the flip flop over the last year, that Vimeo is actually back on track.