For the last decade YouTube has been steadily becoming a bigger and bigger presence in the lives of most web-connected people. In the early days it was a great place to waste a bit of time watching someone do something stupid. There really wasn’t much that was really worth watching.
Over the years the site has built up a solid portfolio of really talented individuals. You can find anything from video game streaming, car reviews, computer builds, comedy, and there’s a whole slew of quality web series from people who were able to carve out a niche for themselves.
There are some channels that have millions of subscribers and daily views. Those creators have famously been making pretty decent livings off of their video creations, however recently YouTube has been criticized for being greedy with their ad sharing. It’s pretty widely known that on average the company demands 55% of ad revenue.
For years now top YouTubers have been complaining that they don’t get paid in a way that represents their following. To maintain a constant release schedule you have to make it your career. The larger you get, the more likely you’ll need support staff. Paying people a living wage requires a certain level of income, which is increasingly difficult on YouTube. This is the problem Vessel hopes to solve.
Vessel is a new video site that hopes to disrupt the status quo by offering much more lucrative deals with content creators. It’s still a free service, however they are offering a premium subscription with early access to video content.
The catch for putting content in Early Access is that Vessel gets an exclusive for a short period of time, usually 72 hours. Those diehard fans that live for the content they subscribe to can be the first to see it if they own a subscription to Vessel.
The service is actually very affordable at $2.99/month, and the list of channels is actually very impressive. Rhett and Link. Machinima. Unbox Therapy. Linus Tech Tips. Fail Army. Epic Meal Time. Nerdist. Buzz Feed. Smosh. /DRIVE. The list goes on but if you haven’t heard of at least one of these, then you might not be the target market.
Creators that are selected for Early Access are given 70% of the ad revenue, and 60% of the subscription fees are shared with creators as well. This gives creators much more than what they are used to, and in turn the quality of productions will hopefully rise too. In addition to famous YouTubers, Vessel has partnered with some very established companies such as IGN, TED, Discovery Channel, UFC, GoPro and Sports Illustrated, and they have exclusive deals with Warner Music and Universal Music Group to release early access video content.
From a management perspective, the company has what it takes. Founded by the former CEO and CTO of HULU, Jason Kilar and Richard Tom know a thing of two about running an internet video service. They proved to the world that people are willing to pay for access to TV when they want it.
This time around they believe people will pay a small premium to get their content 3 days early, and to get you hooked they are offering a special for everyone who signs up in the first 72 hours. Between March 24th and 26th, all new signups will receive a full year of early access for free. Once the deal is done it drops to a 1 month trial.
So at this point you might be asking yourself “Why should I bother switching when everything will still be on YouTube?” The answer to that is Quality. Because of the exclusive nature of the content the Vessel will be hosting, you can expect a certain level of quality from everything you’ll find on the site. You won’t find yourself stuck in a never ending loop of related videos. When one clip ends other clips from the same creator are suggested.
The site also has a very modern feel. It’s very elegant and full of high quality images. It’s not cluttered with ads. Instead they use the space to promote the other video content on the site. It’s also very customizable. When you first sign up you’re asked to select categories that interest you. Then you can select your favorite creators. Using your selections Vessel creates a home page catered to your favorites.
It’s a promising new platform for anyone who watches more YouTube content then Network Television. If you fit in that category, it’s worth checking it out.