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Vimeo teases its on-demand indie film rental service, launching in 2013

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Vimeo has managed to become one of the most popular video platforms out there, and it’s done it all without relying on advertising like other (cough, YouTube) competing networks have done. But Vimeo has bill to pay, and recently released a few strategies, including the Tip Jar and pay-to-view features, both of which we covered September. Today, announced yet another feature that could drive profit and aid filmmakers with the coming launch date of its pay-to-view film rental service, set for early 2013. Vimeo also announced it has released six full-length pay-to-view movies along with the service.

While there’s certainly money to be made, the update focuses on the creative aspect. In a blog post, Vimeo explains that it wants to create an environment where “creators can access the resources to make their next film, and the one after that.” With the pay-to-view feature, creators will have full control of how their films are distributed. A PRO subscription will be required before filmmakers can upload their films onto Vimeo, but they can set their own prices and the length of time that the content is available for viewing. For example, We Are Legion costs $4.99 to watch on-demand through Vimeo, and you’re given two days to watch the film. Filmmakers can also limit the demographic of viewers that can get access to the film, and can choose to add auxiliary content like behind-the-scenes bonus footage.

Vimeo’s founders have been staunch opponents of in-player ads since day one. Until the launch of its latest monetization features, Vimeo has survived on limited advertising to support free accounts and subscriptions to its premium account, Vimeo PRO. Technically, advertising can be implemented as a pre-roll by content creators, but the only way to integrate ads is to use a third-party player that supports this.

Pay-to-view is the second monetization feature that the company will be implementing after the launch of its Tip Jar, which enables viewers to send content creators donations or “tips.” To recap, Tip Jars can be enabled by activating the feature on individual videos and viewers will see a “Tip this video” button.

The pay-to-view service isn’t a novel monetization strategy, and in fact is one that’s often found among other video distribution platforms including Amazon Instant videos, and on YouTube’s video-on-demand service, YouTube Movies. Films on Vimeo will be housed under vimeo.com/movies.

The rented videos can be watched on all devices including smartphones, tablets, game consoles, connected TVs, and of course, desktops.

The preview titles that are available for viewing worldwide include, Beauty is Embarassing, Further, and Sunny. We are Legion is available only in the United States, while Sons of the Clouds is available in both the U.S. and Canada. The sixth title, Shut up and Play the Hits, is limited to just audiences in the United Kingdom.

You can check out a preview of Vimeo Movies below:

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