In a shift in business strategy, video platform Vimeo has dramatically changed the way it treats independent creators, significantly increasing its subscription fees to several thousand dollars a year. Dissenters were asked to leave the platform.
As an example resource The edge tells the story of Lois van Baarle, an artist from the Netherlands, who started publishing her work on Vimeo 13 years ago, when it was actually a platform for independent authors. In 2020, she started hosting some content on Patreon, and Vimeo seemed like the best solution for publishing videos: Patreon didn’t offer its own video hosting, and YouTube didn’t have a number of important features, such as video inserted.
She’s now uploaded 117 subscriber-only videos, each averaging 150 views and 815 views for the most popular — while paying $200 a year for Vimeo’s services and already thinks it’s expensive. On March 11, Lois received a notification from a video hosting service that her account was in the top 1% in terms of traffic consumption. So, to continue using the platform, it should switch to a personal plan with a monthly fee of $3,500.
Similar chain letters were received from other Vimeo authors. A similar ultimatum was given to the Channel 5 project, which specializes in street interviews with passers-by, back in January. After returning from a trip, the journalists found their recordings disappeared from the Patreon feed, subscribers sent them many angry messages, and more than 500 of them unsubscribed in total. In her case, the “issue price” on Vimeo was already $7,000 per year.
Sunny Singh, a Patreon fan, has posted over 4,000 stories on Vimeo since 2008. He paid the service $900 a year, and on January 11, the platform offered him a personal plan with a $3,000 fee. Having gained experience working with data, he requested initial information from the service and conducted his own analysis, adjusting the results of calculations of the platform – the price of the “offer” was reduced to $ 2,500. In the short term, while Sunny has to pay the requested amount to the platform, he has no plans to extend the service for the next year.
But Vimeo doesn’t seem to care that much. Services head Anjali Sud told The Verge last year that the company was committed to offering services to businesses “of all sizes”, but during the Q4 ’21 financial results report she was already insisting service to corporate customers was a priority, and stressed that the largest companies use Vimeo services. In her letter to shareholders she stated bluntly: “We are a B2B solution, not an indie version of YouTube”.
The change in strategy hit Patreon users the hardest: previously, the service recommended its creators to use Vimeo to upload videos, and the video platform itself offered a discount to Patreon users. Additionally, Patreon has an integration with Vimeo that allows you to upload recordings without having to switch to video hosting — some authors didn’t even know their videos were being hosted on a third-party resource. This was the case with the Channel 5 project, whose videos were simply deleted from Vimeo and only restored after the Patreon administration intervened. The project will publish new publications on its own facilities Patreon – this option is already available for some users of the service.