Everything We Know About Wannabe YouTube Killer Vessel


Lauren Orsini

December 29, 2014

New Web video startup Vessel plans to challenge YouTube in 2015. And with the might of Hulu chief executive Jason Kilar and chief technology officer Richard Tom standing behind it, Vessel could even have a chance.

The target of speculation since July, Vessel released an update on its progress on Wednesday that suggests the site will finally open up “early next year.”

Until then, here’s everything we know about the startup so far:

Vessel Will Offer Ad-Free Subscriptions

It’s hard to imagine the people behind Hulu providing ad-free video, but that’s exactly what’s happening here. If you’re tired of watching your favorite YouTube vloggers like Shane Dawson and Ingrid Nilsen with ads, Vessel will provide a place for you to watch them ad-free and sooner than everyone else for a monthly subscription of $2.99. It will accomplish this by signing contracts with stars that grant Vessel exclusive rights to their videos for a period anywhere from three days to a month.

But Really, Vessel Is A Service For Vloggers

For something like Vessel to turn a profit, it needs the support of video bloggers, including some of YouTube’s recognizable stars. So Kilar has emphasized that vloggers who use Vessel will earn about 20 times more than they do on “ad supported sites,” such as YouTube. “During the early access period on Vessel, we estimate that creators will earn approximately $50 for every thousand views,” the Vessel update states. Meanwhile, YouTube pays creators around $2 per every thousand views.

Vessel Will Take Advantage Of Existing YouTube Beefs

Creators on YouTube only keep 55% of their earnings. For years now, vloggers have been nagging YouTube to pay them more while exploring alternate revenue options. This is making it easy for Vessel to reach out to YouTube’s top 100 to 200 content creators to offer them deals. YouTube hasn’t had to pay content creators more because there wasn’t any incentive. That could make it easy for Vessel to profit heavily off of the stars YouTube made big.

“Despite the many positive things that the Internet has made possible in media, to date there hasn’t been a clear path for most of these talented creators to build sustainable, enduring businesses on the basis of their video storytelling alone,” Kilar wrote. “We believe that media can, and should, do much better.”

Vessel isn’t even out yet, but YouTube should be getting worried. While Vessel doesn’t poach stars away, it could snag viewers. After all, if they’ve already watched stars’ content on Vessel, there’s no reason to watch it on YouTube or anywhere else.

Photo by Vessel

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