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Vessel offers Android users early access to YouTube content with new app

Online streaming service Vessel has just landed on Android, albeit in beta form. “We’ve received a lot of thoughtful feedback and feature requests since we introduced Vessel earlier this year,” company co-founder Richard Tom said in a message posted Tuesday. “The number one request, hands down, has been for a Vessel app for Android. We appreciate your patience – today, we are excited to bring Vessel to Android users.”

Take note, though, it won’t work for all Android users, as it’s only compatible with devices running 4.1 Jelly Bean or later. With the app still in the early stages of development, Vessel is encouraging users to help knock it into shape by emailing it about any issues they notice and suggestions regarding desired features.

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Vessel, in case it’s passed you by, was launched three months ago by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar. The service, which focuses mainly on short-form video, gives subscribers paying $3 a month early access to content from YouTube stars. Material also comes from multi-channel networks and media brands, BuzzFeed and the New York Times among them.

To offer subscribers a decent amount of early-access content, the company has been tempting popular YouTube creators with revenue incentives if they agree to host their work exclusively on Vessel for the first 72 hours. According to Kilar, Vessel’s payment structure offers creators the chance to earn considerably more than if they posted to YouTube or other streaming sites.

The launch of the Android app is a big step forward as Vessel attempts to build its user base, a move which in turn could encourage more YouTube stars to host their content exclusively with the service before they go on to post it elsewhere. Speaking in February shortly before Vessel’s public launch, Kilar said that while at Hulu he spent 99-percent of his time in the first two years concerning himself with Hulu’s website.

“We’ve done the opposite with Vessel,” Kilar told the Guardian. “We started first and foremost with the iPhone, then moved on to the iPad, then the website. We know that the most important screen is the screen that you have with you. Although the website is beautiful and we’re very proud of it, we predict that the majority of streams are going to be coming from the apps.”

Now that the Android app is available alongside its iOS counterpart, Kilar will be hoping for a spike in growth to help establish the service and push it to greater success.