Social video discovery site turned artist publishing platform Chill.com is closing its doors next month: Chill informed users of its site Friday that it will shut down on December 15. Customers who had previously bought a video through the site were advised in the email to download their purchases before that date.
Fo Chill, this is just the last chapter of a big bet that didn’t pay off: The Los Angeles-based startup had originally launched as a kind of Turntable.fm for video, but then switched course multiple times, and eventually settled on a Louis CK-like approach of premium video distribution, offering consumers DRM-free downloads of movies, short films and comedy specials.
However, in October, Chill was forced to lay off 40 percent of its staff because the premium content model turned out to be too hard of a nut to crack. Back then, Chill co-founder Brian Norgard told me:
“We discovered that the sales/acquisition cycles around premium content to be somewhat inconsistent with our self-serve distribution model. Premium content creators still want deep human assistance in creating sales, marketing and multi-window distribution plans.”
Norgard also said at the time that he hoped to sell Chill’s website and service to a third party, but now it looks like that didn’t happen either. I’ve asked Norgard for updates on what the remaining Chill team is up to, but have yet to hear back, and will update this post once I do.