New Tip Jar and Pay-to-View Programs, Part of Vimeo's New Creator Services, Aim to Make Money for Vimeo Members

Vimeo, long a favorite haunt of the production and post community and the wider net of independent and emerging filmmakers, finally entered the pay-as-you-play market yesterday with the introduction of a new service called "Tip Jar." Working something like Kickstarter, Tip Jar lets anyone contribute any amount of money through PayPal to Vimeo community member creators for videos they have watched and enjoyed on the site. Vimeo also announced a larger "Pay-to-View" program yesterday that will go into effect in 2013 and appear in beta within the next few months.

"We're taking our first steps into the creative monetization space," said Vimeo VP of Creative Development Blake Whitman in a phone conversation prior to yesterday's announcement. "We know that our members are already so vibrant and engaged, and so many of Vimeo creators are also the viewers of other videos in the community. Tip Jar is really just a karmic tip of the hand that lets them show a little more appreciation than simply just liking a sharing a link. If you're a creator and you are supporting good work, then people will potentially discover and support your work as well. It also lets creators crowd-source revenue for work that's already out there."

All transactions will be done on Vimeo through PayPal and creators who set up a Tip Jar account will receive a monthly summary of their tip income. Vimeo will take a reasonable 15/85 split of the total revenues on all tips to cover the adminstrative costs of the service. Once you set up an account, you can turn on Tip Jar for any of your videos seen by the public.

"We were searching for non-disruptive ways for people to get something valuable for their work, since pre-roll and post-roll advertising is so disruptive to the viewing experience. That's kind of monetization is just not what Vimeo is all about," said Whitman. "We think the implications of Tip Jar are pretty cool, though I don't think we fully understand yet how it can and will be used."

So where do you start to share the love so that some of it will eventually find its way back to your jar? On the Vimeo blog yesterday, Whitman suggested some tip-worthy videos from the 2012 Vimeo Festival + Awards winners, including grand prize winner Symmetry by Everynone and animation winner Umbra by Malcolm Sutherland.

Whitman said Vimeo's Pay-to-View service, which will be in beta this fall and available to Vimeo PRO subscribers in early 2012, will expand on traditional rental and VOD models with customizable templates, or store fronts, where community members can sell their films and video content directly to their audiences, controlling pricing, rental times, how it is distributed and more. The pay-to-view beta will include a selection of films Vimeo staffers have curated, as Whitman puts it, "the best of the best."

For the full Tip Jar and Pay-to-View details, head over to Vimeo's new Creator Services landing page.