Vimeo has just launched a tip jar to help content creators earn money from their videos. A pay-to-view option is coming soon. These are the first steps in what could become a widespread micropayments ecosystem on the video-sharing site. It’s a positive step for content creators. While tips are not about to fix their revenue problems, they could become handy bonuses.
Vimeo is making the right move by providing another way for content creators to profit from their efforts, but they still have a lot to learn from their competitors.
OVERVIEW AND PREDICTIONS
Tip Jar (launched in September of 2012) is a nice start as an option to monetize archived content. Vimeo’s true pay-to-view option (coming in 2013) will only be as successful as its ability to seamlessly integrate with the social web and event/payment solutions such as Eventbrite.
Unfortunately, Vimeo chose to launch Tip Jar without the ability to integrate event-planning tools, and their social web integration is limited merely to viewers being able to “share” on their social accounts they they just made a tip.
Two months after its release, Tip Jar still offers limited functionality — social web integration is severely lacking. Content creators can’t seamlessly invite their follows to view and donate. Worse, fans don’t have the ability to create and schedule viewing parties for specific pieces of content, which potentially would have been a boon for established web personalities.
CONTENT STRATEGY THOUGHTS
We hope Vimeo adds social web and event management functionality in the next release for Tip Jar so that bugs can be worked out before those features are debuted within their upcoming pay-to-play option.
With that inclusion, Vimeo’s 2013 pay-to-play solutions COULD eventually be a tangible way for established personalities/celebrities to fund raise with one-off events.
We hope that Vimeo provides Free Viewing codes that could be given to influential fans, who would have access to and be able to report on the exclusive pay-to-play content.
The basic functionality of Tip Jar may frustrate seasoned content creators who already monetize their videos through ads and pay-to-play solutions already available through Amazon, iTunes and other distribution platforms.
Web personalities may scoff at Vimeo’s lack of streaming options. We hope Vimeo’s pay-to-view option in 2013 eventually includes the ability to mix a live feed with archived media (right now it doesn’t). Heck, you still can’t do a basic livestream using Vimeo as of press time.
TIP JAR IS STILL USELESS FOR LIVE STREAMERS
Until Vimeo can support live video, a private Livestream session (mixing in archived content via Procaster), with access available after an online payment has been made, may still be the better option if live video is integral to your fundraising and branding efforts.
Here’s how Livestream’s Procaster works:
THOUGHTS ON VIMEO’S COMPETITION, MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
In addition to Livesteam, Google’s Hangout feature could easily eclipse Vimeo’s Tip Jar option by simply adding in micro-payment options. You can already livestream and integrate archived media with Hangout.
Until Vimeo makes it possible to livestream (they presently don’t) from within the same player, with a mechanism for integrating archived video — along with a micro payment and event scheduling system within Video, there are better (and free) solutions elsewhere for real-time fundraising solutions. Tip Jar won’t work for you if your content plans includes any real-time engagement strategies.
We’re also perplexed as to why only Vimeo Plus members and non-commercial Vimeo PRO members in good standing can use Tip Jar. When rolling out a feature, it’s usually a better idea to make it accessible in beta to the entire community (paid and free members), in order to collect the most useful feedback.
By only rolling it Tip Jar out to paying members, they have made this new feature less desirable for non-paying Vimeo members who already go elsewhere for their live streaming needs.
Vimeo’s Tip Jar feature is merely exactly what it’s called - a tip jar. Vimeo still doesn’t provide a seamless viewing solution for all-screens monetization, which isn’t just a problem for the content creators - it’s a burden for paying viewers.
If you pay to view a video on Vimeo using Tip Jar, there isn’t an easy way to then watch that from your smartphone, home TV and tablet device. You still have to go through a clunky login process through a browser on those screens (no app for this process yet).
DCAP MEDIA’S VERDICT: TIP JAR ISN’T READY (YET) FOR PROS
Here’s what may end up being the biggest turnoff to content creators — the additional charges and dragged out payment process:
Any tips you receive on your videos will be accrued throughout the calendar month and then transferred to your PayPal account in one lump payment, minus a 15% service fee. Payments are processed 30 days after the end of the month. al account in order to withdraw your payments. It may also take up to 30 additional days for the payment to appear in your account after it has been processed by Vimeo.
What we can tell is that — three months later — Tip Jar still isn’t a comprehensive enough solution for professional content creators seeking a seamless model for monetization and distribution. Vimeo may add new features over time, but what is available right now isn’t that innovative.
However, if you’re a non-profit or part-time creator and just want the ability to give your community the option to make a micro-payment after watching one of your videos on Vimeo, this new offering may be useful. You simply activate the feature and connect your paid Vimeo account to your PayPal account.
Despite its limited functionality at launch, Vimeo does tease that in the future they will:
"be giving video creators of all types of flexible tools to charge for access to their videos … Look out for big (and we mean big) demos of the service as we get it ready for launch to the whole community. If you have an awesome film (of any kind) and you would like to participate in our pay-to-view service beta launch, please let us know."
So, if you’re not looking for a comprehensive pay-to-pay solution to utilize right now, and have the time to participate in their beta, contact Vimeo by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you find out.
If you’re an early adopter and seeking a turnkey solution to monetize your content (live, archived, etc.) — with options for all screens — explore joining the multo.tv network.
MULTO.com Media Co-op is launching a crowdsourcing campaign to raise funds and recruit content creators for a sustainable broadcasting model across all current and emerging platforms.