August 02, 2011

Vimeo Pro low-cost video hosting

Vimeo, the internet video hosting site popular with video makers (and the one we use at UrbanFox...), has gone commercial, with the launch of Vimeo Pro, aimed at small businesses, facilities and production companies, who want the cheapest, high-quality host on the web.

At $199 a year, for 50GB of video files (about 500 five-minute HD videos) and 250,000 video plays, Vimeo Pro will be a great deal less expensive than its rivals (where prices typically range from at least $1,000 upwards).

"We really think we are at a breakthrough price point for a premium service," said Dae Mellencamp, Vimeo's General Manager (pictured). "We don't think anyone is doing anything like it in the professional video hosting space."

Unlike most other sites, it doesn't calculate video throughput by the amount of bandwidth used (which is often difficult to quantify, especially in advance), but by the number of plays your videos get. An extra 100,000 plays costs a further $199 (as does an extra 50GB storage – the unused plays from the add-on packages will roll over for two years, but the 250,000 basic plays reset each year). Mellencamp believes that the basic amount of storage and plays "would cover 99% of people using the site."

It will be useful for productions or small facilities that want to put up rough cut edits or dailies for review, or who want to host video for customers, as URLs can be specific to each video (or a portfolio of videos) and can be password protected and blocked from search engines if required.

There are customisable, themed web pages (portfolios). It is easy to add a logo (there is no Vimeo logo). And there is no programming required.

Vimeo's video quality is high (up to 1080p – although 720p is recommended due to internet bandwidth limitations), and reliability is good as it is run on Akamai's servers and network. Video is H.264 encoded and available in both Flash and HTML 5 versions (with auto detect), so it will run on iPads and iPhones, and any PC or web-enabled TV. It was the second video hosting site after YouTube to support HTML 5.

Vimeo has about 7million registered users, and had 50m unique viewers in Q2 (not including all the players embedded in other site's web pages). It has become the main video site for film and video makers to show their footage, but it isn't open to commercial content (or anything that is intended to sell or promote a product or service). Vimeo Pro users that have content that is not commercial will also be able to place it on the normal Vimeo site, where any plays won't count against their play limit.

By David Fox

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