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A premium version of YouTube is soon to give the Google-owned video service a run for its money. Founded by Jason Kilar, the former CEO of Hulu, Vessel is the first subscription-based streaming-video service. For a monthly premium of $2.99, Vessel subscribers can watch videos from some of their favorite YouTube creators before it arrives on competing video platforms (see our post on How Vessel Is Poaching YouTube’s Stars). This new experience elevates short-form videos into the same category as TV or movies where users willingly pay a much higher premium to view TV shows live or movies in at a theater. Alternatively, Vessel offers to have free ad-supported videos for those who choose to opt out of the subscription.
Vessel allows content creators another platform to syndicate their videos but more importantly, Vessel offers a much higher percentage split to its creators, ultimately serving to lure content creators away from YouTube (see our post on ways to collaborate with YouTube content creators). Creators have the ability to choose which videos to put behind Vessel’s paywall for three days or longer prior to debuting on YouTube or limit to Vessel’s free service. Their paywall videos generate a cut of Vessel’s subscription and advertising revenue. Vessel’s free video service option generates revenue from ads. Furthermore, creators receive a 70% cut of revenue from ads versus 55% from YouTube while videos behind paywall will receive a 60% cut of subscription revenue based on the number of minutes paying subscribes spend watching their videos. They will also receive $7 for every person they refer and convert into a Vessel subscriber.
At a much higher CPM, $50-per-thousand-views projection, Vessel is more than 20 times as much as the estimated $2.20 rate creators typically make from free ad-supported services like YouTube (see our post on monetizing with Youtube). Since the overall user experience is not a drastic departure from its existing competitors, Vessel seems to be more of a complement to YouTube rather than a direct competitor. For creators looking to grow their fanbase as fast as possible, It may prove difficult to do so through paywalled videos if only paying subscribers have access to their content. Most users will still typically default to the platform that has the most widely available assortment of content free of charge and most importantly, provides the most convenient way of sharing the content onto other social platforms.