Video-sharing site Vimeo announced this week that it’s now hosting more than 1 million videos — 100,000 of which are in HD. That’s a lot of HD, which adds a lot of costs to the IAC-backed business that Barry Diller recently said wasn’t big enough to attract serious ad revenue. Vimeo has a loyal and growing fan base, but will it pay up for the Vimeo Plus premium service the site aims to launch later this month?
I contacted dalas verdugo (his legal name has no caps), Vimeo’s community director, to talk about how Vimeo is handling all that HD, as well as the site’s growth overall. A lightly edited version of our email exchange is below.
NewTeeVee: Vimeo has surpassed the 1 million-videos-uploaded mark, and 100,000 of those are HD. What’s the percentage of people watching HD video?
dalas verdugo: We don’t have exact figures on the number of HD plays, but if I had to make an educated guess, I would say it’s around 35,000 HD plays per day, based on the percentage of HD videos and total plays.
NewTeeVee: All that HD video has to be expensive. How much more costly is it to host and serve the high-definition content? What are your plans for monetization? Are you considering premium pricing?
verdugo: I can’t discuss expenses, but you’re right that streaming HD video costs more, since it is a higher bitrate (1600 kbps vs. 500 kbps). When we look at the amazing content that’s being uploaded in HD, the cost is completely worth it to us, and we’re committed towards making this a sustainable business that’s around for years to come.
All of us have been working very hard to get Vimeo Plus ready. It’s going to be our subscription service, and it will offer lots of perks, more space, more ability to customize your experience, all with Vimeo’s high standard of design and usability. Our users have had to endure a long wait, but we think everyone will be impressed when the final product is launched, which we’re hoping to do this month. You can check the progress on our roadmap. I can’t discuss pricing, but it’s very reasonable for what you’ll get.
NewTeeVee: Has there been a steady increase in HD content uploaded over the past few months? By that I mean, if you were to chart it, is the number of HD videos on a hockey stick curve or relatively flat?
verdugo: Growth is very steady. It’s not exponential, but it is encouraging. I think it’s important to remember that focusing on numbers alone isn’t very useful. Your TV could have 500 more channels tomorrow, but if they were all boring it wouldn’t make a difference. Vimeo is continuing to attract high-quality, creative work from a very inspiring community. That’s what I’m monitoring more than anything else, and I’m constantly excited by what people are uploading.
NewTeeVee: Have you noticed a change in the type of videos people are uploading? I.e. more fictional content vs. friends sharing vids?
verdugo: As far as a shift in what people are uploading, we’re noticing more and more professionals coming to the site, such as Joss Whedon using Vimeo to post the Dr. Horrible trailer, and new music videos arriving every day. We’re glad that we’re getting more attention from the professional film community, but we still have tons of people sharing videos of babies with grandparents. Vimeo was founded to serve both of these content types, so we’re happy to see it flourishing in both areas.