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Vimeo Scraps Plans For SVOD Service

Deadline logo Deadline 6/26/2017 Nellie Andreeva

Vimeo, which had been gearing up to launch a subscription VOD service, will no longer proceed with the plans.

“Vimeo has confirmed that it has decided not to proceed in offering a subscription-based original program service scheduled to begin in ’18,” a spokesperson for the video-streaming service, owned by Barry Diller’s IAC, said in a statement.

The news comes just three months after Vimeo hired Alana Mayo, previously VP Production at Paramount Pictures, as VP and head of original development. She was joined by Kesila Childers as director of content development; and Kelly Miller as director of content acquisitions. Mayo and her team will be leaving, IAC CEO/Interim Vimeo CEO Joey Levin confirmed in a statement.

“This was a difficult decision – the idea of pursuing an SVOD service for Vimeo has always been intriguing, and I would have loved to see the incredibly talented Alana Mayo’s programming vision realized here at Vimeo,” he said. “She and her team are creative, sharp, risk-takers, and I believe will all, to a person, have an incredible future in programming. But the opportunity ahead for Vimeo to empower creators is too large and too important for us to attack with anything other than absolute focus and clarity.”

Vimeo had been buying and developing full-length scripted series projects, guiding them toward production. I hear it recently started releasing scripts, telling creators and producers it was pulling out of the premium original content space.

Vimeo was planning to spend “tens of millions of dollars” on the SVOD service. “Vimeo has the once-in-a-generation opportunity to, following in Netflix’s footsteps, deliver compelling subscription viewing experiences for consumers in the market for pay TV,” Levin wrote in a letter to IAC shareholders in November. “I believe we can do so at a fraction of the cost of other major competitors by virtue of the audience and content benefits conferred upon Vimeo through our existing marketplace.”

The marketplace has since changed. Vimeo’s decision to scrap plans for the SVOD service comes only days after Apple made a big move in the original content arena with the hire of Sony TV presidents Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht to lead the efforts. Apple is one of three Silicon Valley giants making a push in the space, along with Facebook and Google (via YouTube), which are reading their first high-end original series slates.

Vimeo’s reversal is similar to Verizon and AwesomenessTV’s February decision to scrap plans for their announced premium content service, with Samie Falvey, Chief Creative Officer, leaving and her team disbanded only six months after she was recruited from ABC.

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