Is there a market to see YouTube stars’ videos before they premiere on the Google-owned video site? Founding Hulu chief Jason Kilar thinks so. And he’s raised $75 million in funding to attempt to prove he’s right.
Yesterday, Kilar publicly announced his plans for Vessel — a combination subscription/ad supported network that hopes to lure some top internet video talent to its service to premiere their content up to 72 hours before posting it to sites like YouTube.
Viewers willing to pay for early access on Vessel will be charged a $2.99 monthly fee. Though, Kilar and company aren’t naive to the fact that not everyone will be eager to shell out $36/year — and, they won’t necessarily have to. Vessel will give content creators the option of keeping their videos behind the network’s paywall; or, allowing people to view their content for free, via an ad-supported option.
The benefit for content creators is a much larger share of the ad revenues than they currently receive from Google — a reported 70% compared to 55% from YouTube. Creators who choose to offer up videos behind Vessel’s paywall will get a 60% cut of subscription revenue based on the minutes spent watching their content; and, as a bonus, they’ll get a flat $7 a pop for each subscriber they refer in.
Vessel ads will not give users the option to skip (guess marketers can kiss “video completion rate” KPIs goodbye here), and, while :15 & :30 second spots will be available, Vessel will reportedly rely heavily on 5 second pre-roll units.
Besides for desktop and a coming mobile app, Vessel will likely partner with streaming devices and smart TVs to offer its services, similar to the model Netflix, Hulu, and countless others employ now.
Exact details on the public unveiling of Vessel are still pending; in his post on the company’s official blog, Kilar references “early next year” as a date of launch.