Short of the Week

Vimeo Introduces Tip Jar and Pay-to-View

News / September 20, 2012

Vimeo has officially unveiled their plans for creators to monetize their videos.

The first is called Tip Jar where anyone can use PayPal or a credit card to simply donate money to a filmmaker they appreciate. It remains to be seen how many viewers will heed the call for charity, but it’s a simple first step toward offering filmmakers a way to reap some appreciation from their work.

The second feature, Pay-to-view, has even greater potential to transform the online indie film world by offering an alternative to YouTube’s ad model. This will allow filmmakers to charge an upfront fee to watch a video. Pay-to-view could essentially turn Vimeo, a strong filmmaking community already, into a viable distribution platform. Details are sparse—unlike Tip Jar, it’s not available yet—so critical aspects like moderation, previews and accountability are still on the cooker. Some fans of Vimeo are concerned they’ll have to start paying for what was once free. That may happen in some cases, but in reality, I think it opens the door for new quality content that would otherwise hold out for DVD or VOD exclusivity elsewhere.

What do you think? Are you tempted to try either Tip Jar or Pay-to-view?

Check out Vimeo’s new Creative Services

Andrew makes no attempt to hide his love for the magic art of animation. He appreciates compelling visuals but never forgets that in this modern age, a strong story always reigns supreme. You can see his work at or his latest film The Thomas Beale Cipher.
  • ???? ?????????

    I think its a good opportunity for indie filmmakers!
    Vimeo has chosen the right direction. I can see how this service plays an important role in the history of filmmaking in the 21st century.

  • Mark Law

    I’ve been waiting months for this, it seems there is not much choice at the moment for lower budget film makers. It’s either go with the large corps like Apple, Google etc, use a ppv solution that doesn’t playback video properly or try use a CMS and the Longtail video player

    So this is amazing news! :)

  • Kees

    This is great news for all great creatives with amazing videos on Vimeo! It will be interesting to see how the pay-to-view is presented to the buyers and how flexible the solution is. We see there are quite some limitations already for Tipping: no embed, Paypal only, see their FAQs
    It seems many other video or content platforms tried to launch their own pay system, yet often they realize this is not their core business and then look for other best in class components to integrate.
    Actually, for those who cannot wait until 2013 to sell videos pay-to-view, Vimeans can try Cleeng. Takes 2 minutes to protect a video:

  • Andrew S Allen

    The problem with most pay-per-view platforms to date is they have no audience—so promotion rests entirely on the filmmaker and their personal facebook and twitter networks. We’ve failed to see any offer consistently significant payoff for quality films.

    That’s why Vimeo’s upcoming pay-to-view offer is interesting. Vimeo has a massive film loving audience and many Vimeans have existing fans ready to view a new film. It has great potential to change the way indie films are distributed.