Vimeo: Speaking with Jordan McGarry


Vimeo is a video sharing platform, with video on demand (VOD, though in their case it’s ‘Vimeo on Demand’) services as well, and has recently launched ‘Vimeo Originals’, their very own original and exclusive content. So competing with YouTube wasn’t enough, they’ve also decided to take a swing at Netflix and Amazon. And every TV channel with a VOD platform… so all of them. And every streaming and torrenting website out there too, just for good measure.


In this relatively crowded (and sometimes Black) market, what sets Vimeo apart? We spoke to Jordan McGarry, their Head of Curation, to find out.


“As much as it’s a video sharing platform, it’s a platform for creators”, McGarry says. She attempts to characterise their thirty- five million registered users to us “[Vimeo] is used by people who create films and care about quality”. This ‘quality’ and ‘creator’ focus runs through most of our discussion, and bears out in their practices as well – they split the payments for content with the creators ninety ten, “if you buy something on Vimeo on Demand, ninety percent of the money goes to the person who made it” McGarry enthusiastically informed us.


It also bears out in their creators’ accomplishments. In the last two years, near 70% of the Oscar Shorts shortlisted selections were Vimeo filmmakers, 82% of South by Southwest and Sundance selections were by Vimeo filmmakers, and in April Fox signed two Vimeo filmmakers and Warner Bros picked up one.


As Head of Curation, a part of McGarry’s job is to help Vimeo’s creators along, and one of the ways they do this is with the Staff Picks section, which hosts some of Vimeo’s best content. With some pride she told us about one of their featured filmmakers who’s just been nominated for an Oscar, and described how the many “trying to get into the industry using Vimeo” develop with them – from posting a video to being featured as a Staff Pick to going professional: “we like to be with them the whole way along”.
And now with VOD, they’re trying to retain those talented individuals too – “trying to keep those creators in our ecosystem and keep providing them with what they need”. It’s an interesting move, from being a resource which empowers filmmakers and launches them into the profession to being that profession. “Hopefully, we can do both”, McGarry says, and with more original content on the horizon, Vimeo are “putting their money where their mouth is”.

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