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Vimeo: art vs. commerce

Read this article in: Deutsch, English

Estimated reading time:5minutes
Various video platforms existing in the World Wide Web, they totally differ in orientation and target groups. One of them is Vimeo. Compared to a big platform like YouTube it cannot show user figures as high as the internet giants’ ones. However the portal is still attractive: it stands for creativity and esthetics. Vimeo serves a totally different target group than YouTube. It’s mainly focussing on producers from the arts and culture areas, which in general put high emphasis on esthetics and are more interested in those type of videos than others. This hint is already in the name: Vimeo is an anagram of the word movie. And what most people don’t know: the platform celebrated its 10th birthday just like YouTube. Its been founded in November 2004 from movie makers around the creative Jake Lodwick in New York, two months before YouTube. If you wanna reach customers from the creative sector or if you are a movie maker, Vimeo fits you perfectly. If you wanna spread your videos to a wide range of people, use YouTube. You won’t see any OMG-smartphone videos of naked bumps on Vimeo. Of course there are music clips, big record lables try to sell their videos everywhere. Besides that you can also visit professionally produced video tutorials and online courses, but you might need to pay for them. To the normal user: Using the platform is simple, no registration is needed. Simply enter the title into the search mask and off you go.

The features

If you want the users of the platform to participate in your videos or if you want to be an active part yourself, you have to register. After registration you can state things about yourself, the home town or upload fotos - or even also, tatatataaaa, upload videos.  But there are a couple of things you should consider: Vimeo has a different principle than YouTube. The last one promises its users an enormous reach and the possibility of earning money with video content. Vimeo is different. If you want to upload video content you have to pay. Therefore there is no nervewracking advertisement. Directly after registration you get detailed information about the different account offers. You can also subscribe to channels, like or comment on things. Via sharing-function you can easily embed the movies to your blog or post it on social platforms.


Only the basic account is free of charge. With an upload volume of 500 MB and one HD video per week, you can hardly do anything. The account is just for really small video fishes. Another disadvantage are the banner ads, Vimeo obviously compensates the free-of-charge membership with it. But the proof is as you know in the pudding and an upgrade is always possible. If you want to have more possibilities, you can choose between two further account types.


A plus-account costs 49,90 € per year. Therefore the weekly upload volume is up to 5 GB, that’s much more than with the basic account. You can also upload HD-videos upto this capacity. A further cool feature is the individualisation of the player. There are no banner ads in payed accounts. You also pay for statistics and you can analyse your data and the luxury of a prioritised support.


159,90 € for the pro-account is quite a lot. It’s mostly targeting creatives, that want to create a substiantial company profile with Vimeos help. There are no length restrictions for videos. With a yearly volume of 1000 GB the storage space is 4 times higher than with the pro-membership. Also the other features are really good: There is a 24-hour VIP support. The possibility for producers to sell their content via Vimeo-on-demand-service. This means: Users can by high-end content to view it.

Swim against the stream

Especially YouTube had to fight against a lot of copyright accusations lately. Concerning this Vimeo swims against the stream. The video platform has its own rules. If a producer uploads a video he evidently has to be owner of the copyright of the video. Videos of third parties can only be uploaded if the producer received the authorisation of the owner. Camouflaged advertising is prohibited on Vimeo. One who includes ads in his videos, has to consider that the videos get banned. This philosophy should protect users from nervwracking spam. We think this is pretty cool. Even film, TV, music or game trailers are not allowed. It is pretty clear: Vimeo won’t have any GEMA problems like its competitor YouTube. It’s only the question how intensively this is being checked up. According to Vimeo video content is only spot tested. Assurance is based on cross-check control within the community.

No video professional? - no problem

A really cool feature is the Vimeo video school. If you just started producing videos, you get valuable advices and tricks to create content to your own satisfaction. Even advanced skilled people or film professionals can learn something new with the tutorials or exchange themselves within the community. Regular contests allow to show the own skills. With the Enhancer on Vimeo service own pieces can be optimised with a soundtrack or sound effects. Besides those services there are various other tools that allow to manage several videos at the same time, invite friends or set-up the own newsfeed. Even though you only have a smartphone at hand and no real camera you can still make artistical videos with the help of the cameo funktion.

What are the advantages?

Producer receive, as already described, the possibility to offer their videos via vimeo-on-demand. The video producer gets 90% of the revenues, vimeo gets 10. However, video creators can only merchandise their videos when having a pro-account. Users have the advantage to view films, which they normally don’t get. If a viewer is really enthusiastic about the content he is watching, he can give a so called TipJar to the provider. This is basically nothing else than handing out a tip. By clicking the button the producer gets a little extra money and, maybe even more important: Appreciation!

Art vs. commerce - what’s better?

As a producer it is important to differentiate what you want. Do you prefer to reach a lot of people or the right ones? Of course a provider like YouTube is the undisputed most popular platform. Reach will always be higher if you want to get the most users. On the other hand you have to consider that videos on such a big platform can be lost in the crowd. Vimeo certainly has the lower reach and videos won’t become a viral hit. But: If you are only targeting a certain audience or want to market your own portfolio, Vimeo is the best platform for you. Have fun testing.

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