One of the world’s largest creative networks, the video-sharing website Vimeo reaches a global audience of more than 75 million visitors each month. On the site, people from around the world can create, share and discover high-quality and buzzworthy videos. Now, Vimeo is preparing to become an even bigger phenomenon. The site recently announced two new features, Tip Jar and Pay-to-View, that will enable aspiring moviemakers to earn money from the films and videos they share on Vimeo.

Tip Jar (which is now available) allows viewers to show their appreciation and enthusiasm for a moviemaker’s film or video by voluntarily contributing money to support their work. Vimeo will pay 85 percent of the gross revenue to the moviemaker. The second feature is a unique pay-to-view service that allows creators to sell their work behind a paywall, and sell access to their films and videos.

Just before these new features were publically announced, MM caught up with Blake Whitman, VP of Creative Development at Vimeo.

Kyle Rupprecht (MM): Could you talk a little about each of the two initiatives: The Vimeo Tip Jar and the Pay-to-View Service? What unique features do each of these services offer?

Blake Whitman (BW): Vimeo is launching two exciting forms of monetization for creators. The first, Vimeo Tip Jar, which we just launched, allows consumers to give tips for videos before, during or after watching a video. This is really a unique crowd source model to fund video production. The second monetization platform, Pay-to-View, is rolling out in beta this fall and enables creators to sell their video content directly to their audiences. Building on traditional video-on-demand models, Vimeo’s Pay-to-View program will be highly customizable, allowing content creators to select pricing, rental duration and distribution location. This will open to all Vimeo PRO subscribers in early 2013.

MM: How could these new payment opportunities most benefit moviemakers?

BW: Our community has been asking for opportunities to monetize their work for some time now, and these new initiatives will allow moviemakers to choose the best option for their audiences without the complicated application process required by other digital platforms. Whether you’re an emerging filmmaker or have an established following, this is an easy way to connect directly with their audiences without the need to conform to industry standards around video format, price or release timing

MM: How did the notion of these new initiatives come about? Have you gotten any feedback from the industry?

BW: We wanted to create tools that gave them the flexibility to monetize where and how it best suited their needs. We haven’t had any specific feedback from the industry, but we hope that these tools will attract all forms of video creators everywhere, with the opportunity to monetize their work.

MM: Ultimately, what do you hope the response will be from moviemakers?

BW: We hope this makes for a much more open platform versus the gated communities that are currently out there. We expect moviemakers to be excited about these announcements because it allows them to choose their own model to monetize their work in an easy and flexible way. Both Tip Jar and Pay-to-View models create direct ways for creators to financially succeed.

MM: Looking long-term, what impact do you hope these new initiatives will have on the way independent movies are financed and distributed?

BW: We think these new initiatives will help enable filmmakers to look to the web as a form to finance and distribute their content instead of relying on more traditional Film Festival models. We think that by providing the tools to empower the creators, it has the potential to disrupt traditional industry standards similar to the way Amazon did with e-books. We are excited to see the successes of our community as they begin to use these features.

MM: Anything else to add?

BW: Vimeo has always focused on curating quality and creative content for our community and these recent announcements are just another step in enabling our community to continue creating and sharing.

For more information, please go to