Vimeo iPhone App On the Way

Online video site Vimeo (s IACI) is working on an iPhone (s AAPL) app, which is expected to be released in the fourth quarter. The app is a bit of a departure from Vimeo’s existing strategy of making videos available on HTML5 through the iPhone’s Safari browser.

Vimeo has long been a proponent of HTML5 video and first made some videos available through the standards-based format since January of this year. That helped the company to release a universal player last month that automatically detects the viewer’s device and serves up the appropriate codec, file size and bit rate for that device. The universal player enables Vimeo to reach the iPad, iPhone and other HTML5-supporting devices.

Nevertheless, Vimeo has confirmed that it is building a native application for delivery to the iPhone, scheduled for release later this year. So why the shift from HTML5?

Vimeo general manager Dae Mellencamp says the primary reason is to serve its users. “Vimeo user has been asking for an iPhone app for a long time,” Mellencamp said. “Not everybody uses the browser as much, on the iPhone particularly. People have become prone to using the apps. We want to be where the users are.”

One of the other reasons that Vimeo might decide to release an iPhone app is that it could possibly provide more advertising against videos that it shows on the device. As a nascent web standard, HTML5 advertising is not as robust as the advertising ecosystem that has already been built around iOS devices. Vimeo wouldn’t comment on the possibility of advertising on the Vimeo app.

The release of Vimeo’s iPhone app will follow similar apps already available for video sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Babelgum and Metacafe.

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