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Vimeo Drops Plan for Subscription Video Service

Said to be refocusing efforts on its creator community (Updated) 6/26/2017 1:09 PM Eastern

Vimeo, the online video specialist owned by IAC, confirmed that it has scuttled its plan to develop its own subscription video service.

"Vimeo has confirmed that it has decided not to proceed in offering a subscription based original program service scheduled to begin in ’18," an official said in a statement. 

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Vimeo has been asked for further comment on its decision, but The Hollywood Reporter said Vimeo has dissolved a development team that was looking to acquire content for the proposed offering, and that it will instead “refocus on its creator community.”

UPDATE: Vimeo also confirmed that Alana Mayo, who joined the company in March from Paramount Pictures to head up Vimeo’s original content development, has left the company.

"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,” Joey Levin, IAC’s CEO and Vimeo’s interim CEO, said in a statement. “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.”

The strategy shift is an about-face for Vimeo, which had plans to target Netflix, Hulu and others with a subscription video service, noting in a shareholder letter last November from Levin that Vimeo had a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to, following in Netflix's footsteps, deliver compelling subscription viewing experiences for consumers in the market for pay TV.”

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In 2016, Vimeo acquired VHX, a company that makes a white-label over-the-top video platform, and offered a clear indication of Vimeo’s intent to push more deeply into a crowded SVOD arena  that not only includes mainstream services from companies such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon, but also a flurry of more focused, niche-oriented subscription offerings and an expanding array of virtual MVPDs.

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