Vimeo has decided not to launch the subscription video service it announced in a shareholder letter last November and planned to unveil sometime in 2018.
The letter outlined Vimeo’s intention to spend tens of millions on new original content in an effort to “follow in Netflix’s footsteps,” but according to The Hollywood Reporter, that plan has been completely abandoned and the development team tasked with the project has been disbanded. The announcement comes as a bit of a surprise, as Vimeo just hired Paramount Pictures’ Alana Mayo to head its original content division in March.
The first Vimeo-funded web series High Maintenance was incredibly popular and later became a half-hour drama on HBO. The next high-profile series, with episodes retailing for $2.99 apiece, were Aidy Bryant’s Darby Forever and Adam Goldman’s The Outs, but few originals after that managed to break through the noise and become verified hits. The idea of a subscription service that would compete with Netflix, launched off of a few popular web series, would seemingly have depended on Vimeo’s enviable network of creators; it boasts 750,000 and already has a subscription service that licenses professional tools to them. Apparently Vimeo wasn’t able to leverage that, and it certainly wasn’t ready to compete with Netflix’s $6 billion annual budget for original content.
The only statement the company provided was a generic one to all news outlets: "Vimeo has confirmed that it has decided not to proceed in offering a subscription based original program service scheduled to begin in ’18."