With a monthly audience of about 75 million, video site Vimeo doesnât come close to Googleâs YouTube, which drew more than 200 million views just to a single music video, âGangnam Style.âÂ And while Vimeoâs contributors have gone on to film festivals, YouTubeâs have gone on to international stardom (think Justin Bieber or Rebecca Black).
But hereâs one thing about Vimeo that appeals to some video creators: While YouTube makes money by running advertisements before or on top of videos, Vimeo does not. Chief Executive Officer Kerry Trainor said it would upset the tone of the siteâs artsy fan base.
So how do Vimeo and its contributors make money without tapping into the video advertising market, which hit $2 billion in the U.S. last year? Starting today, the site is adding a âtip jar,â which lets a viewer click a button by a video to contribute money to the creator. In a few months, the site will also allow users to put their content behind a pay wall and decide what to charge per view.
In addition to helping boost Vimeoâs revenues, these new tools could create a new generation of self-made Internet businesspeople, like the mommy bloggers and e-book writers, Trainor said.
âAs opposed to making them partners around an advertising play, we can help them build a business around their videos,â said Trainor, referring to YouTube, which shares ad revenue with some contributors.
For its part, Vimeo will take 15 percent of the tip jar proceeds. The company hasnât yet decided how much it will take from the pay walls. Â The video service, which is owned by Barry Dillerâs IAC/InterActiveCorp, does not disclose its revenues.
Vimeoâs new features will only be available to paying members. âPlusâ users can add the tip jar to their content, while âproâ members, who pay $199 a year, can also put up a pay wall.
âWe want to be the high-quality sharing platform,â Trainor said. âItâs never about throwing stones at YouTube.â