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

What I Learned at VidCon: It’s All About Connection

Attendees of the inaugural VidCon conference last weekend were largely on the young side, but watching fans interact with their favorite YouTube creators made it clear that entertainment is changing, with audiences expecting a greater level of connection with creators than ever before.

The Fine Brothers and Shane Dawson Mock Degrassi for the Views

[show=finebros size=large]For some people, defining success online can be a subjective thing. For viral mavens the Fine Brothers, it’s all about the numbers. Literally.
The pair behind Movie Spoilers in One Take, My Profile Story, and the Lost parody series have recently begun not just making content for themselves, but partnering with some of YouTube’s biggest stars to help them create the best possible — and most popular — videos. Not only are Benny and Rafi Fine now officially the chief creative executives and heads of production for the YouTube (s GOOG) star comedy collective The Station, but they’ve been making shorts with individual YouTubers — the most recent example of which being the Shane Dawson-starring Degrassi spoof series.
You might not be familiar with Degrassi: The Next Generation, either because you’re not a Canadian teenager or because you don’t get cable channel The N, which airs episodes in the United States. But fans of the Canadian teen soap will tell you that when it comes to “going there” on controversial or uncomfortable topics, Degrassi does — drugs, abortion, homosexuality, school shootings and date rape are all considered to be acceptable topics for the show to explore, making it one of the more daring shows out there. Read More about The Fine Brothers and Shane Dawson Mock Degrassi for the Views