What is Vessel?
– it’s short form video
– by popular next generation video creators
– targeted at millennials
– online, on iPhones & iPads (Android soon)
– with a $2.99/month subscription fee
– giving subscribers early access to 135 channels
– and free viewing with ads after a 3 day window
– creators get 60% of sub fees, 70% of ad $$
Founded by former Hulu execs, Jason Kilar and Richard Tom and backed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Benchmark and Greylock Partners, Vessel is a new video service available online and through iPhone and iPad apps that hopes to lure users away from YouTube (especially millennials) by giving its subscribers exclusive access to videos not found anywhere else online for a window of up to 72 hours in return for a monthly fee of [$2.99]. The company seems to be basing its success on a strategy of attracting high quality creators by offering them a better deal than they’re currently getting anywhere else. This includes 60% of the subscription fee and up to 70% of the advertising revenue for a video that’s released on Vessel before another service. (Bobby Owsinski, HypeBot)
Of the 165 channels Vessel recently launched with, 135 of them … have stuff that’s only available for paid subscribers … music videos from Universal Music and Warner Music, and clips from YouTube stars like RHETT & LINK … PHIL DEFRANCO, an early YouTube favorite, and GLOZELL GREEN, one of the three YouTubers who recently interviewed Barack Obama. New entrants on the free side include NBCUniversal’s THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON and LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS, which will provide clips the day after they air … paying for subscriptions is not new for some kinds of video, like the stuff that Netflix and Hulu Plus offer. But it is a new concept for lots of the stuff Vessel is offering, so this will be a closely watched experiment. (Peter Kafka, re/code)
There’s also the presentation. While it’s easy to get lost in YouTube’s glut of videos, Vessel provides a slick, minimalist interface that takes some design inspiration from both Netflix and Hulu by putting a limited number of clips front and center. Vessel’s main menu makes it easy to search for videos by category, as well as follow your favorite content creators. Vessel is decidedly more niche than Netflix — you won’t be binging on THE WALKING DEAD or watching a blockbuster movie on the service. However, for those who spend more time watching YouTube stars than network television, Vessel is an intuitive, attractive hub for up-and-coming web video. (Michael Andronico, Tom’s Guide)
“Creator preview” aims to attract more partners, particularly those unhappy with what Kilar described as the “low, single-digit dollars for every thousand views” that their videos often generate on YouTube. “At this level of monetization (or even 5x this level of monetization), it is extremely challenging – if not impossible – for most creators and content owners to realize their creative and professional ambitions if this is the sole manner in which they release their content,” he wrote.“During the early access period on Vessel, we estimate that creators will earn approximately $50 for every thousand views (approximately 20x the levels earned from free, ad-supported distribution).” (The Guardian)
Most important is the question about Vessel’s mission: was it created for creators or viewers? Kilar’s missive stressed Vessel’s value to creators — it was, after all, designed to attract creators to the service. But a service with good terms and handsome royalties is only valuable if it attracts a large crowd. What good is a high royalty if almost nobody is watching? And consumers won’t value online media more just because a new, idealist service was built to support creators. It will come down to how well Vessel serves viewers. (Glenn Peoples, Billboard)
What do you think? Would you pay $2.99 a month for the chance to see hot-off-the-press web videos before anyone else?