Monetisation and Vimeo

19 November 2020

This is an old post, so may include broken links and/or out-of-date information

Most of the arts sector has been busy this year finding new ways to engage audiences. A key part of this has been offering digital content.

This usually involves embedding a video on your website or microsite. There are lots of options out there for video hosting, but one of the most common is Vimeo. With its powerful privacy features and reasonable cost, it’s been a favourite of many clients, and is recommended by most website providers.

However, Vimeo's terms of service says you can’t use their platform for paywalled content:

We may restrict bandwidth or charge extra for the following uses of our player or video hosting tools (which should generally occur via our APIs (as defined below)): (1) plays on third-party sites without using our embeddable video player; (2) plays within third-party apps (e.g., mobile or connected TV apps); (3) plays when our player is connected to a third-party payment solution; or (4) plays when our player is connected to a third-party advertising solution.

Whilst this is a little hard to follow, we’ve had confirmation from Vimeo that this applies to both live-streamed events and pre-recorded content.

What does this mean?

Essentially, Vimeo won’t allow you to share paywalled content – unless you have a Custom or Enterprise account. These are costly – we’re talking £6k+.

So, you can’t sell tickets for a production through Spektrix, then use Vimeo to host the video – unless you have a Custom or Enterprise account.

We haven’t heard of Vimeo penalising anyone for using their platform in this way – yet. But they are locking down. Their purchase of Livestream in 2017 suggests they're actively trying to move into the cultural market, and will inevitably be harsher on organisations who don’t follow their terms.

What are the alternatives?

There are alternative hosting solutions out there that don’t have such restrictions. We’ve listed a few below, and we’ll continue to update the list as and when we find new/better ones:
  • Starts at $5pcm making it the cheapest on our list
  • Includes 500GB of storage but you can increase this – it works like 'pay as you go' on storage after that
  • Allows for 4K playback
  • Allows for domain restriction on those playbacks – you can ensure only your website can play the content
  • Offers a free trial
  • Starts at $10pcm
  • 150GB hosting and 500GB streaming
  • Allows for Pass-protected sharing
  • Their highest paid tier allows for extra encryption on your video embed and live streaming; prices are not shown online for this
  • Offers a free trial
  • Quite a different pricing model to the others!
  • Pricing starts at $24.99, making its basic tier the most expensive on our list
  • 500GB included storage and bandwidth – with pay as you go costs after this
  • Both tiers have 60 minutes of live input and 3000 minutes of live delivery (50 people watching the full 60 minutes), and then costed per minute thereafter
  • They do offer live streaming
  • Higher tiers have some extra security features
  • Offers a free trial

Thank you

Offering digital content is new to lots of cultural and sector support organisations. Like lots of people, we’ve been listening, asking questions and sharing knowledge and experience.

Huge thanks to Caroline Aston at Chichester Festival Theatre, The Umbrella Rooms and Spektrix for sharing their information and insights so we can better support the sector.

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