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Make more money with Vimeo On Demand — the proof is in the math

Vimeo On Demand
March 18, 2015 by Vimeo On Demand Staff

Ever since we launched Vimeo On Demand at SXSW 2013 (happy birthday, us!), we’ve seen an influx of YouTube creators selling their videos on our platform. We’re super excited to see so much great work being shared, bought, and sold on Vimeo and — most importantly — seeing creators earn that much-deserved money for their hard work. If you’re making videos and want to earn money from them without dousing them in ads, consider selling through Vimeo On Demand. Already, it’s helped tons of people including the creators of the hit web series High Maintenance sell their videos, their way. Allow us to demonstrate...

The high-quality home for high-quality videos
Since Katja and Ben dreamt up the show in 2012, High Maintenance has aggregated a passionate, loyal following that has streamed the series millions of times (more than 5,731,000 as of February this year, to be exact). Because of Vimeo’s high-quality viewing experience and creator-friendly revenue model, the meager benefits that a popular title might see on YouTube are magnified exponentially on Vimeo On Demand.

Vimeo On Demand means more money for creators.
When compared against average YouTube creator advertising terms (a $5 CPM), High Maintenance made more money selling directly to fans in just two days on Vimeo On Demand than it would have in over two years based on a traditional advertising revenue model. And High Maintenance isn’t the only Vimeo On Demand success story – Angry Video Game Nerd The Movie and Video Game High School are other fantastic titles that decided to monetize by selling work directly to their fans through Vimeo On Demand.

Do the math.
Curious about how the math would play out for your own videos on Vimeo vs. YouTube? We’ve created this handy calculator to help you visualize the difference between selling on Vimeo On Demand and monetizing with ads on YouTube. 

Try plugging in your own data in our revenue estimator to see how much more money you could be making with Vimeo On Demand - just drag the sliders to set your expected number views, expected ad CPM, and the price you’d charge people to watch your video.

* — This calculator compares video views on YouTube to trailer views on Vimeo On Demand and assumes that:

  1. YouTube pays creators 55% of gross revenue from ads, which are displayed before 80% of video plays (Source: Digiday).
  2. Vimeo On Demand trailer views will convert to sales at a rate of 3.2% based upon our prior data (worldwide videos with at least 20 sales between 3/12/13 and 2/3/15).
  3. Vimeo pays creators 90% of gross revenue after deducting transactions costs. The transaction costs vary based upon price; the calculator uses average transaction per price point.

Now that you have a good idea of how Vimeo On Demand could work for you, why not give it a try? Start selling your videos and rake in that cold, hard cash.


No City Films PRO

Good to know. Love what you guys are doing with the site. Keep it up!


good blend of hobby and money on Vimeo !

Charlesque Plus

Interesting post. I think a better question is how many views do you need in vimeo to make the same amount of money than in youtube.

Approximatively based on your table :

------------------ Vimeo ----/ Youtube - $5 cpm / youtube - $10 cpm / youtube - $25 cpm
1 000 $ = 3846 views ---/-- 333 333 views ---/-- 166 666 views -------/-- 71 428 views

Amy Liu Staff

Thanks Charlesque! We were thinking about making a calculator so you can input your own values and see how many views you would need/how much money you could make. Would that be useful?

The Line Plus


I think if the figures were clearer people would be more tempted to enter thet on demand market.

A calculator is a great idea!

Mark Martino

Thanks for the article and thanks for the calculations. This information should help me beef up my movie proposal for THE WALLET episodic comedy series. We've been VODing our 10 minute prototype episode for about six weeks and have only gotten a few rentals at a buck a piece. Our budget and team are much smaller than HIGH MAINTENANCE, but I was hoping we'd do better. Obviously I'm biased, but I think the premise and story ought to interest working people from 20 to 60 years old.

Mark Martino

Forgot to ask this. Any suggestions for how to market our comedy short would be appreciated. We've got a website for THE WALLET, but I'm not very good at marketing and I really don't know how to market using social media. We're having a launch party here in Kirkland, Washington on March 29th at Heritage Hall. That's about all I could think of to do for now.

Amy Liu Staff

Hi Mark, we're going to be publishing some great case studies over the next few weeks with some tips on how other VOD sellers grew their audiences through word of mouth and social media. Hopefully you'll find them helpful!

Fred Russell

Hi Amy,
Has Vimeo published these case studies yet? They'd be of GREAT use as I'm currently thinking up a distribution strategy for my short and VOD looks the way to go.


like good~

Michael Boamah

I think that your blog post goes in favour of the YouTube platform. All the examples that you gave are series that managed to get a huge following thanks to YouTube AND THEN went on to Vimeo On Demand to monetize their content better.
So what I understand from that is, as a creator, you should rather go on YouTube first and try to become a hit. And at this point, you can explore other options to make more money than YouTube Partner Program.
Am I right ?

Amy Liu Staff

Hi Michael, you should absolutely use YouTube as a free marketing/audience building platform to drive traffic to owned content with higher margins (like a video on Vimeo On Demand). It's a win-win situation! :)

Peter Gerard Staff

However, we also used the example of High Maintenance, which is a great web series that has never been available on YouTube. The show has always lived on Vimeo, where it became a hit in its first season for free, and now it's a huge success on Vimeo On Demand.

Joey Fox

ok now i'm tempted could be better then youtube since they kinda ruin the fun for everyone


I love the platform, but waiting 2 months to get paid is really painful. I'm doing event video, which may be a bit of different use than most others on here. I'd like to see real-time payments and better support... like on weekends and the ability to actually talk to a human.



Frontier Media Inc.

Please consider that we NEED you Vimeo to help us change the way things are done. Itunes had the opportunity but quickly sold out to the big guys. If you allow the major movie and television producers to participate in what you've started here, they will soon flood the selection thus making independent material impossible to find. Itunes places programs in their selection based on popularity. When they allowed Disney and friends to post podcasts all in the independent producers got booted out of the podcast selections. I guess having their own TV channel, and Itunes purchase on demand were not enough for them...they needed our podcast spots also. Please keep the big guys out of your platform.

Andrew Browne Plus

I do think that the "Pay What you Want" model would fit very well with Vimeo. Kind of like the Tip Jar but you must pay a minimum set by the creator to watch the video.

There are those willing to pay for content and then there are those willing to show their support by paying more and to give an incentive for future content, such a system would allow people to do so.

Just my 2 cents

Live Streaming Pros PRO

Andrew, we actually use a Pay what you Can model on our main website, and it works well. We have a $3/mo minimum so we can cover fees etc, but we have people paying anywhere from $3 to $250/mo. I love this model, because it allows us to not lock down access based on what someone can afford...would be cool to see that here.

Merzmensch Plus

Yes, "Pay what you want" model would be great idea - perhaps even the plan with basic view price PLUS optional possibility to pay more after you've watched the movie on demand.

Sometimes you have no expectations about the movie you are paying for, but then you are overwhelmed with the story/quality/intensity and want to support the artist more.

So perhaps something like "basic plan" for all movies (as subscription like hulu or so) with "pay-more-if-you-want"-function?..

Because after all, vimeo is platform to discover new indie jewels, not to re-watch mainstream products.

Fun Train

Still not quite sure how the 3.2% conversion number came to be. That seems unreasonably high. Any more input on the math to arrive at that #?

Peter Gerard Staff

Hi Fun Train,
We've looked at our data over the last two years, and can see that on average 3.2% of people who watch a trailer decide to purchase. Sometimes it's a lot higher, and occasionally it's lower. It really depends on how great the the trailer is and if it's being seen by the right people.

Myron Wallace

Hmm, im looking to upload gameplay clips and such onto this site, but this model (as im understanding it) wont really be suited for that will it? I don't know if anyone would PAY to see me playing a game... (or am I understanding this incorrectly?)

Peter Gerard Staff

Hi Myron, gameplay isn't normally made available to purchase, but if you offer something unique and grow a fan base for your show, it is possible to expand a gameplay series into something bigger and more premium that people might pay for. Angry Video Game Nerd did just that with their feature film:

Jonathan Mooney

Thank you for DRM free movies this is why I joined vimeo

CelebrateGreeceDOTcom PRO

I agree with your comparison of YouTube and Vimeo. Our YouTube CelebrateGreece channel and CelebrateGreeceClips channels have over 500,000 views combined, but the CPM for ad rev on YT over 3 years for all our videos has been less than 1 year Vimeo VOD income for just one of our Vimeo VOD titles - an 8 episode historical docu-drama series, The First War for the West, at
Due to this we are putting our premium sellers on Vimeo VOD.
Independents rock!
Thanks Vimeo!


What happened to the 90% to 10% ratio? How much is the "transactions costs" ?

Sujewa Ekanayake PRO

That slider graph does not seem to be for selling feature length films on Vimeo VOD. So the heading for the graph probably needs to clarify that.

Candid Pictures PRO

Yeah, can you clarify this? If you're selling a feature length film or a TV series on VOD, this graph surely can't be correct. Selling 10,000 copies at $10 and only receiving $2,765 in sales revenue?

Darnell Witt Staff

Sorry for the confusion! That's 10K impressions on your trailer -- not 10K sales. That many sales would certainly be substantially more revenue. The point here is that if ~3% of the 10,000 people who watch your trailer go on to buy your title, it will generate ~$2,765 at a $10 price point. Far more than you'd get for that number of ad impressions.

Bryce Cunningham PRO

Selling 10,000 copies at $10 and only receiving $2,765 in sales revenue? Again I am asking myself the same question. could you plz clarify this?

Darnell Witt Staff

Hey Bryce, See my response above. That's 10,000 trailer views -- not 10,000 sales.

Rahul Bhat

Hey Darnell, can you tell me what advertising options does Vimeo offer to the content creators? How do we even esnure views, converting views to revenue is secndory according to me? Revenue will come in - if my content is good - but as these days a lot of content is being generated, it's easy to loose the top slot. How does Vimeo assure viewership?
I own a Production house redbison dot com based out of NY and we are about to launch a TV series. I am about to signup for a PRO account and doing my research before that. Thanks


Well, I guess if you go for shared revenue on VOD, you shouldn't ask creators to change the plan to Vimeo Pro to sell online. It's double charging now. And the calculator should subtract the cost of Pro plan, to be more accurate.

Craig Martin

My videos are just going to be original songs with my acoustic guitar....I can't see anyone paying to watch a video of me! On You Tube I just put the video up and if anyone watches it, it's easy cash...the idea of charging soemone adollar to watch my video seems absurd.... or am I completely misunderstanding this?

Rahul Bhat

You are not misunderstanding this at all Craig! Why would anyone pay to watch your video unless it's really really intriguing!
Vimeo only makes sense to poeple who create TV series, 4k quality songs and who are confident their material will sell. For all of others - YouTube still makes more sense. Thoughts?

Bikini Dreams PRO

ok, an important question here. When you say "trailer views" are you referring to "finished" views, or partial views? It is much much harder to get someone to watch a video/trailer right to the end, than it is to get them to watch just part of it. In my recent experience here on Vimeo, it looks like about 7% watch my trailers/videos right to the end.

Is your "$267 average earnings per 1000 trailer views" for "finished" views, or for all views, including partial views. If it is for finished views, 7% of 267 equals $18.69 per 1000 trailer views. A huge difference.

If your claim is for "finished" views, you should state this in your claims. As it is now, it sounds kinda too good to be true. Please clarify. Anyone with hands on stats who can clarify this? Thank you very much.

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