came a long way as an independent platform, but we couldn’t find a path
to sustainability. We’re building something new.
careful consideration, the Vidme team has arrived at the difficult
decision to suspend the Vidme site and apps effective December 15th at
noon PT. We’ll use this blog post to explain what this means for users,
how we got here, and what’s next for us.
this means for users
sign-ups and uploads will be disabled effective today.
videos will be playable and exportable from yourvideo
manageruntil December 15th at noon PT, at which point they will
be permanently deleted from the Vidme servers.
paid channel subscripitions will be suspended immediately, and
subscriber-only videos will be exclusively accessible by their video
outstanding earnings will be paid out upon verification within 60
Vidme paid subscriptions will cease as of today, and subscribers will
no longer be billed.
more details, and email us firstname.lastname@example.org
we started Vidme
started Vidme (initially Viddme, before we could afford the shorter
domain) in 2014 with the mission of helping the next generation of
entertainers find their audience and earn a living.
the time, YouTube was the only major platform that provided revenue
sharing — a system which often neglected creators with small or niche
were confident we could create a new type of video platform — one that
was more community-oriented, more transparent, and more equitable to
creators. Inspired by reddit’s crowd curation, we also saw an
opportunity to improve the experience for both viewers and curators by
allowing the community to surface trending content.
the large market opportunity (video ad spend is $84B in the US alone),
and the impending shift from linear television viewing towards digital
video, we believed that we could create a sustainable platform to
accomplish these goals.
first feature was a one-step video publishing tool: simply drag-and-drop
your file and Vidme would generate a shortlink to your video that you
could share anywhere, no account required.
the time, sharing videos was more difficult than it is today — Facebook,
Twitter, reddit, and other large platforms didn’t have native video, it
was often impossible to send large files over SMS, and YouTube required
sign-in and publishing to your G+ page. Vidme’s simple, one-step video
upload drove massive early adoption and traffic.
a mission to build the world’s most creator-friendly video community, weraised
venture fundingand quickly evolved the product
to support creators with a broader set of tools for publishing, building
audience, and monetizing.
first VOD platform to offer both on-platform tipping and paid
subscriptions, Vidme became one of the top 1,000 most popular
destinations on the web, reaching over 200 million people annually.
hosted millions of videos, delivered over 6 billion views to audiences
around the world, and our player was frequently embedded by major online
publications, including the Huffington Post, USA Today, Mashable,
People, Sports Illustrated, and more. Our small engineering team
developed infrastructure that scaled to support thousands of
simultaneous HD video encodes and hundreds of thousands of concurrent
importantly, our vision for a more equitable and creator-friendly
community attracted some of the world’s most talented creators — ranging
from first-time videographers with a passion for storytelling to
well-established digital stars with millions of subscribers. Some were
earning thousands of dollars per month using Vidme’s fan patronage
tools, and many found larger audiences than they ever had before. An
energetic and diverse community took shape, with Vidme’s most ardent
fans creating thousands of videos discussing the platform.
of this was accomplished with fewer than a dozen full-time employees,
and in spite of increasing competition for audience attention from the
likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, who began spending billions of
dollars per year on video content.
we learned and why we’re moving on to something new
we still believe that the world would greatly benefit from a
creator-first video platform, we weren’t able to find a path to
financial sustainability. Here are major obstacles we encountered in our
user-generated content is increasingly challenging
want to target specific audiences, which means a new platform that
doesn’t store troves of personal user data is at a severe disadvantage
relative to Facebook and Google, which combined control60%
of online ad spending in the U.S.
advertisers want their ads to complement “brand-safe” content.
Unfortunately this is a subjective designation, which is difficult to
define and enforce. Content, therefore, must be thoroughly reviewed
and moderated — an expensive prospect. As YouTube recently learned
with the “adpocalypse,” even a single poorly-moderated video can
result in a PR disaster and undermine advertiser trust.
advertisers are willing to negotiate direct deals with platforms that
don’t have enormous scale, meaning ad-revenue rates are lower for
newer platforms. In turn, there’s less overall revenue to be shared
with creators, which means creators are less likely to support newer
platforms for a sustained period of time.
we introduced direct fan patronage as an additional business model,
the profit margin was insufficient to cover the high costs of storing
and delivering video.
and delivering video is becoming less expensive, but remains extremely
are often massive files, and making them globally available at any
time is expensive. YouTube sold to Google (just 18 months after
launching) partly because of YouTube’shigh
burn rate, and to this day isstill
likely operating at a loss.
we launched in 2014, we projected that infrastructure costs would
decline due to increased competition in the CDN and data storage
marginal prices have fallendramatically over
the past few years, our aggregate costs still outpaced our ability to
generate meaningful revenue.
definition of “scale” has changed, and attracting audiences away from
existing platforms is harder than ever
creators with millions of subscribers on YouTube and Facebook were
initially attracted to Vidme’s model, but faced difficulty
transitioning audiences from their home platforms. Convincing people
to use (and keep using) a new platform is hard, leaving many creators
locked in. BothFacebookandYouTubealso
actively deprecate content shared from competing platforms (Vidme’s
social traffic dropped markedly once Facebook began to prioritize its
a massive captive audience already on the platform, new channels
struggled to find immediate growth. As such, creators didn’t remain
active long enough for us to achieve sufficient network effects across
a critical audience size, we struggled to attract direct advertisers to
help offset our infrastructure costs, leaving few resources to spend on
product innovation and attracting new audience.
we raised venture funding so that we could initially operate at a loss
while we grew Vidme’s audience, the competitive market changed
dramatically over the past two years. Most notably, Facebook and
Instagram began aggressively soliciting video content and courting video
creators, which led YouTube to redouble its efforts to attract and
the face of mounting competition, and a moving goalpost for achieving
sufficient scale, the timeline for Vidme’s sustainability as an
independent platform became uncertain. As such, raising additional
capital or continuing to operate the platform at a loss became
we started we knew that we were taking a calculated risk, but in
hindsight we underestimated the speed with which the competitive
landscape would change.
you’re considering building your own video platform, here are a few
— Plan to operate at a loss for an indefinite period of
time, and/or be operated by a deep-pocketed business with multiple
revenue streams and touchpoints with consumers. Give users of your
existing products incentives to engage with your video platform, and
be wary of monetizing with advertisements prior to achieving massive
costs — Explore emerging technologies, such as peer-to-peer
storage and delivery to further reduce infrastructure overhead.
Consider restrictive storage policies, and own as much of the physical
infrastructure as possible.
building — Leverage an existing audience, and/or
incentivize all platform participants by issuing a native currency
(e.g. blockchain) to equitably reward contributors.
next for the team
we’re disappointed to close something that we put so much of our hearts
into, we’re excited and eager to apply what we’ve learned to our new
product, which we’ll be announcing next year.
not every member of the Vidme team will be staying on for the next
chapter, so if you’re interested in hiring any ofthese
talented people, please email us email@example.com
we’ll connect you.
the meantime, we’re talking with some creator-focused companies that
might incorporate our technology and revive Vidme in some new form in
feel incredibly grateful for the many people who have supported us and
our mission over the past few years.
you to the early community members whose vital feedback helped improve
the Vidme product.
you to our teammates who put their hearts into building a home for
creators of all kinds. We’re proud of how much was accomplished by such
a small team.
you to our friends and advisors who helped us navigate the many
complexities of operating a lean startup up against some of the biggest
companies in the world.
you to our investors for believing in our bold plans, and for supporting
us in our decision to apply what we’ve learned to something new.
of all, thank you to the creators who made Vidme possible. Thank you for
investing your time and energy into building an incredible community;
for graciously sharing your feedback and constructive criticism; and for
delighting and amusing us every day with awesome videos.
has truly been a joy to watch people from all over the world connect,
collaborate, and make new friends on Vidme, and we’re happy to know that
many of those relationships will long outlast Vidme itself. We feel
deeply grateful to you, and we hope that you’ll join us on our next
up hereif you want be notified about our