The Most Recent Version Of The Future Of Video
Companies of various stripes and sizes involved in video--from Vine to Yahoo to NBC Universal-- are now competing for eyeballs, and a complex and multifarious ecosystem continues to evolve.
Dropping pricey cable subscriptions and finding desired programming through other means, a.k.a. cord-cutting, is now A Thing. But it's by no means the pinnacle of convenience. Consider all the buttons, different screens, and even various cords involved in hopping from an Amazon Instant episode to a Netflix Original Series to a YouTube channel on a home computer or television set.
One possible way out is something Vimeo, the online video company owned by IAC, is pioneering.
Last year Vimeo--which for years had been a YouTube competitor--introduced a video-on-demand platform. It lets users pay directly for content, and enables artists to sell (almost) directly to consumers. Vimeo takes a cut, but a much smaller one than a typical distributor or studio.
But Vimeo has also made strides in allowing cross-platform viewing, sharing, and payment, which some of its execs discussed on June 12.
"In the past few years there's been a big shift in thinking about 'what can I do with my media,'" said Andrew Pile, Vimeo's chief technologist, at Brooklyn's Northside Festival. "Wherever you travel, your stuff should be with you."
By "stuff," he means every video you've saved, or bookmarked, for later viewing. And by "with you" he means seamlessly, wirelessly synced to your phone, your computer, and your television. Currently, Vimeo is compatible with Roku, Apple TV, and a handful of other devices. And its "Watch Later" feature is a way to save a video across all those players and platforms. (Niftily, with Vimeo content, this includes buttons for saving--or buying, if need be--straight from social-media links from friends.)
Both Pile and Greg Clayman, the general manager of audience networks at Vimeo, said they use Vimeo's social-sharing bookmarking tool to create this experience for themselves. Yes, they live in the future of TV. Yes, they're evangelizing their own product here, But both sounded genuinely glad, not just because their company created it, but because they're able to use it each day.
"When you start essentially bookmarking videos--whether it's feature films or 30-second stop-motion videos--it's impossible to stop using it," Clayman says.
Pile added: "To hit the Watch Later button and save up all the funny videos your friends send you until you go home and watch them on your TV at the time of your choosing? That's really cool."
What's the next frontier? Adding one's own videos--stuff you might upload to the Internet, or just silly iPhone shorts--to the multi-device, multi-platform mix.
"The expectation of 'my stuff should be viewable everywhere' is bleeding over to the content-creation side, and that will be a seamless experience," Pile said.
And it just might take the cords out of cord-cutting--finally.
CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer
Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.