Vessel, the video-sharing startup founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, is now open for business. Billed by some as the first real threat to YouTube, the site (not to be confused with the similarly-named smart cup) features professionally-produced videos from some of the web’s prominent video bloggers (and even some of YouTube’s top talent) at a price of $2.99 per month.
Convincing users to shell out money for yet another subscription could be a tough sell – especially given YouTube’s dominance over the video-sharing market – but Vessel does have a few things going for it.
For starters, subscribers will have a catalog of high-quality content at their exclusive disposal. That’s right, content creators that partner with Vessel must agree not to post their content anywhere else on the Internet for a period of up to three days.
The privilege of seeing the latest web videos before anyone else is something Vessel is banking on.
Vessel is also appealing to content creators. Having already raised $75 million in venture capital, the site can afford to pay its creators 70 percent of all advertising revenue in addition to 60 percent of money generated from monthly subscriptions.
For comparison, YouTube typically offers a 55 percent cut of ad revenue. For some, the additional revenue could be too much to turn away and hey, what's to stop people from double-dipping?
As a premium offering, content creators are guaranteed that their content won’t run alongside low-budget / amature clips typically found on YouTube. This could end up being a double-edged sword for Vessel, however, as they’re going to inevitably miss out on the type of organic content that can go viral and generate billions of views.
Vessel is currently open on an invite-only basis. Those interested in checking out the service can submit their e-mail address now and as the rollout continues, they’ll be invited to try it out for one month free of charge.