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Watch out YouTube - Vimeo looking to tempt content creators with $10 million investment fund

Tom Morgan
6 Mar 2014
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Vimeo is looking to grow with the help of content creators, kicking off the SXSW festival by announcing a $10 million investment fund for filmmakers using its video-sharing website

Vimeo, the video hosting site with a firm focused on short films and professionally produced content, has announced plans for a $10 million investment fund to help increase the amount of content on the site by encouraging filmmakers to give it a try, rather than stick with Google's more popular service or self-publish their material.

The company made the announcement at the South by South West (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, exactly one year after it revealed the Vimeo On Demand service. Unlike other on demand platforms, Vimeo On Demand gives filmmakers control over price, worldwide availability and viewing format (whether a film can be streamed or must be downloaded). At the time of writing, over 6,000 titles were available on the service, which covers a wide range of genres. Vimeo itself is rapidly becoming a place for aspiring filmmakers to show off their skills, which would otherwise fall through the cracks on larger, more general video-sharing websites like YouTube.

“Building on our early content investment programs, we’re excited to announce this broad expansion of resources to support creators,” Kerry Trainor, Vimeo CEO, said of the announcement. “The direct distribution movement gains momentum every day, and we are fully committed to empowering creators with a vibrant alternative to the ad-dominated online video ecosystem for monetizing content.”

The $10 million fund will be split into at least four programs, including an expanded focus on crowdfunding. Now, selected titles that raise $10,000 or more through a leading crowdfunding platform such as KickStarter or IndieGoGo will qualify for an exclusive window on Vimeo On Demand. A larger film festival program is also planned, providing guaranteed funding in exchange for the exclusive distribution of any film that premieres at one of the 20 biggest global film festivals in 2014.

If either of these requirements are met, filmmakers will also qualify for a Vimeo PRO grant - earning them a year of Vimeo PRO membership for free. Finally, the company plans to expand its title and catalog acquisitions program, meaning it will work with filmmakers and distributers to secure films and shorts catered specifically to Vimeo's audience.

Filmmakers wanting to see if they qualify for a free PRO account or access to the investment fund can find out more at vimeo.com/ondemand/audience.

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