Vimeo is picking up two new series and a comedy special for its burgeoning original content department. The streaming service is still riding high after the success of its first original show, High Maintenance: HBO added the series to its lineup after six new episodes aired exclusively on Vimeo. It's going to try to duplicate that success with the second season of a feted LGBT dramedy (The Outs); a "passion project" from Saturday Night Live's Aidy Bryant, one set in an anonymous town's fabric store (Darby Forever); and the first comedy special from one of America's next drag superstars (Bianca Del Rio's Rolodex of Hate Comedy Special: Live from Austin).
Vimeo might be taking another step into original programming, but it's not setting itself up as a competitor for the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Instead, the site wants to be seen as the kind of safe space where creators are free to experiment with length, tone, and unorthodox subject matter; it's taking the "no networks = no rules" label initially applied to Netflix and stretching it to its logical extent. "We want to continue our legacy of supporting voices that deserve to be heard, as well as artistic expression and that certain quality of 'Vimeo-ness' words can't quite capture," writes Laura Turner Garrison, the service's senior manager of content development and acquisition.
Vimeo could turn into the "minor leagues" for HBO and Netflix
It might not be contending for Emmys anytime soon, but the success of High Maintenance is proof that turning into a "minor league" for bigger services like HBO could be a lucrative business for Vimeo. It's not hard to imagine a future where aspiring show-runners work out their kinks and experiment on the site before stepping onto bigger, more restrictive stages, but it'll have to prove the model's viable with these new shows before that happens.