Blog Post

VIMBY Shows Off Your ‘Hood

For all of their bluster about destroying old media, new media startups sure are quick to describe themselves as “like MTV used to be.” Regional video site VIMBY is no exception. VIMBY actively targets young people, ages 18 through 24, by creating original content around hot youth topics like music, cars, action sports, and sex.

While it covers much of the same ground as the other new boob tubes, VIMBY sets itself apart by enlisting local filmmakers in different cities to showcase local luminaries. VIMBY currently features content from 17 cities, with the 18th (Seattle) opening soon. Check out surfing from San Diego, or an upcoming band on tour in Austin, or a hot club in Miami — all produced by people from those neighborhoods.

But VIMBY is not just another UGC site. Videomakers must apply to become one of the site’s “preditors,” and are asked to include both a sample of their work and the reasons they want to create content. The good news is that if a videomaker is selected by VIMBY, they will earn real money. The bad news is how much. A full segment will get the preditor $500. That’s it. No royalties on their work ever, and once bought, VIMBY owns that work outright, which it will turn around and syndicate and sell ads against. If you’re a first-time content producer, this might not seem so bad, but otherwise, this is a pretty raw deal.

And that could be a reason why VIMBY is having will have such a hard time retaining these videomakers. I spoke with its managing producer, Adam Reno, who told me that VIMBY has had as many as 70 content creators signed up at one time. That number has since dwindled to 25. (Update: Reno called to clarify that it’s 25 filmmakers who produce content more than once a week, and insists that not one filmmaker has walked from VIMBY. My point was aimed more at how actively people will produce the content, not whether they would leave VIMBY. Filmmakers could choose to take longer breaks between submitting videos because they can get a better deal elsewhere.) Reno disagrees with my assertion, however. “People are not unsatisfied with the payment,” he said. “It’s just a matter of finding the right people. A lot of people who fell off weren’t right for us.”

VIMBY, which is privately-funded, officially launched in October. According to the company, traffic since then has hit between 1,000 and 1,200 unique visitors a day, with roughly 10,000 content streams a day served through its site and the embeddable player.

It’s eyeing a number of syndication deals with the usual suspects: Joost, Akimbo, MySpace and Crackle, though no deals have been signed yet.

The competition is fierce for the young eyeballs VIMBY is after. While their approach is fresher than just slapping a blond in a bikini up on the homepage, if they don’t offer more incentive to creators, VIMBY can forget its MTV dreams.

8 Responses to “VIMBY Shows Off Your ‘Hood”

  1. From what i can tell, there are multiple aspects of vimby where Chris Albrecht is completely and totally wrong…we are all dumber for having read his blog.

    First of all, think of it from a high school kids perspective. He/she lives in a suburb of lets say Philly. After meeting VIMBY’s “preditor” requirements all this kid has to do is drive a few miles, shoot some video of his friends or cool stores in the area and the cash starts flowing. Big deal if its a one time payment. Do you think the local Ralphs Grocery is going to pay him every time someone buys food from atop the shelves in which that same kid stocked 3pm on Tuesday? NO! No F***ing way. Forget the royalties, forget the huge LA day rates, forget the syndication. Its clear to me that these “preditors” are hired to render a service and deliver a product; nothing more. I have uploaded 20+ videos to youtube and have i ever seen a dime from that? NO! Do i go crying to google and apple about where is my money this and why dont i have equity in your company that. NO!
    The proof is there, outside of NY or LA no one is going to pay a high school kid or a young filmmaker 500$ for a damn thing. I think VIMBY’s pay scale is more then fair…i mean who wouldn’t want to make 100$ a minute.

  2. sarahmeyers

    I agree with Dina, since they are a media business late to game in producing content in the online space their strongest advantage would be to get the content on TV stations. I have looked through some content there and they have higher quality video that is translatable to the TV.

  3. Michael Mertz

    I just took a peak at and there’s no UG content on the site. From what I saw, most of the content looked semi-pro in nature, not UG. If I was 18 years old and someone gave me $500 to shoot my buddies skate, I’d do it, no questions asked. Alex is right, this kind of content has a short shelf-life. Although the content does’t speak to me (it might’ve 20 years ago), I could see them do well.

  4. I met these guys at the newteevee conference, and they were very cool and seemed very focused on what they’re doing – I wish them a lot of success. I could see this site doing well, especially if they have the opportunity to bring some of their best content to local TV stations.

  5. Hey, everyone, this is Adam Reno, Managing Producer at VIMBY. I just wanted to clarify that the VIMBY nation currently includes 70 filmmakers around the country and growing.

    Of our 70 filmmakers, 25 are producing more than one segment a week.

  6. Chris Albrecht

    What I’m saying more is that if it doesn’t get more professional creators, it will be just another UGC site targeted at men. We already have lots of those.

    And if VIMBY takes off and can cram a million plays (with ad impressions) into a piece of content, I think the artist should definitely see a piece of that.

  7. Alex Kanakis

    So your saying that only if top-shelf creators build it, the 18-24 demo will come? Ahhh, if only it were so easy.

    Most of the content on the site has a short shelf-life, so creators shouldn’t expect to monetize their creations long term. (Although that does not apply if the content goes to mobile, TV or film in the short/long term — a big if, indeed.)

    Also and ideally, it seems to be more about the creators creating content for local consumption. To me it seems almost hyper-local video with an edge. I think it can/will be a viable content -creation model benefiting both Vimby and its content creators.

    Just my two rupees worth of useless insight…