After simplifying its submission process by integrating with Dropbox last month, Vimeo is moving on to its next project: paid video content. The premium video hosting service has announced new pay-to-view and tip jar features, which will allow content creators to earn revenue from their submissions by locking it behind a paywall or by gathering donations. Access to the tools will be exclusive to those with Vimeo Plus — the company's $199 professional-tier plan — with tip jar availability beginning immediately. Once implemented, users will be able to voluntarily contribute funds to filmmakers before, after, or even while they watch videos. Paywalled content will begin in beta preview this fall, giving Vimeo Plus members the ability to set pricing, rental duration, and regional availability for their videos. A wider member rollout is scheduled for early 2013.
By favoring a paid on-demand model instead of traditional advertising, Vimeo says that it is giving creators a chance to monetize their work regardless of viewership size. While video owners are certain to be thrilled by the prospect of new revenue streams, whether or not viewers will be willing to pay a premium for independent content remains to be seen.