Jason Kilar’s Vessel delays launch but opens up to creators

Vessel, the online video startup co-founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar and former Hulu CTO Richard Tom, is going to launch in early 2015 with a unique proposition: Vessel wants to give consumers early access to videos that they’d otherwise watch on YouTube. From the announcement blog post:

“Early access on Vessel will be offered for only $2.99 a month, a low price made possible by incorporating a modest amount of advertising. For those not as interested in early access, we also have a free, ad-supported version of the service, where videos become available after their early access period.”

Vessel will offer paying subscribers a three-day early access window, but is also promising video creators that they will be able to publish their clips elsewhere (read: on YouTube) after those three days are over. Which makes you wonder: Will people really pay to get those clips three days early?


Apparently, creators have been wondering the same thing. Vessel did reveal Wednesday that it is working with YouTube stars like Shane Dawson and Rhett & Link, and that the platform will also feature content from Machinima, Tastemade and others, but word has been that the company has had a hard time signing up creators for its model. That’s despite the promise to give them a lot more money. Again, from the blog post:

“Vessel’s business model (subscription + advertising) will deliver unusually attractive economics for creators, allowing them to pursue their dreams and share ever more ambitious work with their fans. During the early access period on Vessel, we estimate that creators will earn approximately $50 for every thousand views (up to 20x the levels earned from free, ad-supported distribution). After Vessel’s early access period, creators will continue to earn money through distribution of their videos on the free, ad-supported web – on Vessel and anywhere else they choose.”

Because of the sign-up challenge, Vessel had to postpone its launch. The company tried to get Vessel ready by the end of the year, and in fact, Vessel’s website promised that it was “coming in 2014.” Now, it is only opening up a sign-up phase for creators, and promises consumers to be ready by early 2015.

Vessel's homepage, up until recently.

Vessel’s homepage, until earlier this week

Battlestar Galactica flies again on YouTube, thanks to Machinima

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome might have ended up like many television pilots — abandoned and never again seen. SyFy opted to instead premiere the series through Machinima Prime on YouTube. It’s a great treat for Battlestar fans – and a potential precedent for future projects.

Google leads $35M funding round for Machinima

Popular YouTube video channel Machinima.com has landed a $35M round of funding, with Google leading the round. While Google has given its video content partners seed money in the past, this is the first time it’s given big-time VC dollars to one of them.

Machinima is YouTube’s content king

Machinima is rocking it on YouTube: The video game content publisher clocked close to 350 million domestic video views in January alone. That’s more than all the views of the next seven biggest publishers combined. Worldwide, Machinima had 1.3 billion YouTube views in January.

Machinima’s secret to original drama is its audience

The most notable thing about gamer-focused web video network Machinima isn’t its 1.3 billion monthly video views and 149 million uniques. It’s this — getting people to watch drama online, by making sure its drama series will directly appeal to its audience.

YouTube serves up nearly half of all videos online

Even as online video viewing has expanded, audiences at YouTube continue to outpace the market. The latest evidence? ComScore’s September Video Metrix report, which shows that nearly half of all videos viewed online in September were delivered by the Google-owned online video site.

Starcraft Trailer Parody Promotes Warcraft Fan Machinima

To promote the latest installment of Illegal Danish, their popular World of Warcraft machinima series, D.W. Hackleman and his brother Clint came up with a clever conceit: They fully recreated the trailer of the hotly anticipated game Starcraft II with elements of Warcraft. Now instead of a cigar-chomping space Marine donning an armored helmet, the Hacklemans’ version ends with a spunky purple-haired gnome named Dirti G, ready to rock.

Converting Warcraft’s medieval fantasy trappings into Starcraft’s military sci-fi milieu was a painstaking task that Clint estimates took the brothers about 700 hours to complete. At the end, however, they had a machinima appealing to both Warcraft and Starcraft fans. (Both games, not coincidentally, are from Blizzard Entertainment.) That’s likely to attract more viewers to their Danish series, which according to Clint, has already been viewed over 10 million times. (He says the Starcraft II parody, which went online July 4, has already attracted 50,000 views.)

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