Which Video Sharing Service Is Right for Me? (Part 2 of 2)

Claude Harrington 12.04.2015

Yesterday, we examined the pros and cons of YouTube to try and answer that all-important question: which video sharing service is right for me? Today, we’ll continue our video sharing exploration by taking a closer look at Vimeo.

What Is Vimeo?

Vimeo was founded in 2004 by Zach Klein and Jake Lodwick. Interestingly enough, Lodwick started Vimeo as a side project while he was working at CollegeHumor. And because of his background at the well-known online satire site–which occasionally received legal threats from the companies they satirized–Vimeo’s founders intentionally placed very strict limitations on the upload process so that  content could only be uploaded by copyright holders.

We mention this backstory not only because it’s fascinating (Vimeo was a side-project at at College Humor?!), but because its origins can help explain both the perception of Vimeo (particularly as compared to YouTube) and some of the reasons why it has evolved the way it has in recent years. Knowing this, it now makes a little more sense why Vimeo has a reputation for being more niche, less mainstream and more professional. That perception has changed in recent years–as Vimeo has more aggressively courted new customers and YouTube has upped its HD capabilities–so let’s take a closer look at what Vimeo currently has to offer:

It’s More “Professional”

Although we mentioned above that this perception is changing, it still has not fully changed. And as they say: perception is really. But, in reality, is there any truth to this perception? Well, one piece of evidence that certainly supports this belief is…

No Full-Screen Advertisements

Yesterday we likened YouTube’s usage of advertisements to the network television model. To complete that analogy, it would be fair to compare Vimeo to premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime. Similarly, Vimeo’s intended differentiator is not only higher-quality content (both technically as well as creatively), but there is also an implicit promise of exclusivity. That’s because some Vimeo accounts cost money to operate. How much and what do you get for that money? Well that depends on your selection of…

Different Tiers Of Vimeo Membership

Unlike YouTube’s come-one, come-all philosophy, Vimeo provides a few different tiers of service:

  • Basic (Cost- Free): With Vimeo’s entry-level account you can upload up to 500 MB of videos per week. That’s about all you get. Which, depending on your objective, this cost-free no frills package might absolutely be enough.
  • Plus (Cost- $59.95/year): With Vimeo’s Plus account you can upload up to 5 GB per week. You also get priority conversion, HD embedding and access to advanced metrics.
  • Pro (Cost- $199/year): With Vimeo Pro (also known as Vimeo for Business), you can upload up to 20 GB per week. You also get everything in the Plus package as well as perks like private review pages, a fully customizable and embeddable HTML5 player and Vimeo On Demand (which allows you to sell your videos online).

Interface and Community

By design, as well as the fact that it’s ad-free, Vimeo’s interface is significantly cleaner. Also, videos on the homepage don’t start playing upon visit, if that’s something that matters to you. The net result of things like this is to help create a more refined and intimate community. Whereas on YouTube, it’s quite difficult to stumble across something unless you have a sense of what you’re already looking for, Vimeo tries to curate a more discoverable community with things like Staff Picks and a tab on the home page that is literally called “Discover.” Discovering new things on there is often a pleasure, but don’t forget that it’s partially a byproduct of the size of Vimeo’s community. Which is…

Vimeo Has 30 Million Users

Or, put another way, 3% of YouTube’s community. That’s a staggering difference on paper, but as we alluded to yesterday, that only really matters to whatever extent it answers questions like this: Who is my target audience here? Where are they? And what’s the best way to reach them?

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