Vessel, the YouTube competitor co-founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, has made the OTT service ad-free for all paying subs, and has launched a new annual play that runs $19.99.
“We’ve appreciated all of the valuable feedback we’ve received from the Vessel community since our launch a year ago. One of the most popular requests has been for an ad-free experience,” Kilar noted in a blog post about the moves.
The ad-free option (Kilar's former employer, Hulu, launched an ad-free option last fall), he said, includes customers who pay $2.99 per month, as well as those who opt for the new annual subscription plan.
Viewers who tune in to Vessel without a paid subscription can still tap in for free, but with ads.
Following a brief invitation-only beta trial, Vessellaunched commercially almost a year ago. Its “early access” subscription product provides temporary exclusives (usually a 72-hour window ) to short-form videos for $2.99 per month. After that, Vessel’s content partners are free to make their videos available via YouTube, their own Web sites, or any other online distributor.
Vessel hasn’t announced sub numbers, but Kilar noted that the service, though still in its “early days,” has attracted subs from more than 155 countries.
He said Vessel’s paid, early access service continue to earn more than $50 in revenue per thousand views, and that the service currently offers about 300,000 videos from over 250 content partners – up more than 50% since last summer.
Kilar also said Vessel is in the process of “experimenting with some full-year exclusives” with partners such as Linus Media group, Brittani Louise Taylor and JeromeASF.
Vessel has raised more than $134 million, a figure that includes a $57.5 million “B” round announced last April.