Jun 2, 2015 · 2 minutes

Vimeo has expanded its on-demand service to support monthly subscriptions.

The new tools will allow video creators to set the price of their subscriptions, offer free trials to potential customers, sell their videos, rent them out, and otherwise control how they're paid for content uploaded to Vimeo's service.

And, according to the Hollywood Reporter, video creators will keep 90 percent of the revenues drawn from this new subscription service. The 10 percent kept by Vimeo pales in comparison to the revenue cuts taken by YouTube or Apple.

Vimeo also has another advantage over its rivals: Its name isn't YouTube. (Downside? It's not close to the size of YouTube.)

YouTube has been planning a subscription service like Vimeo on Demand for a while. Unfortunately for video creators, it's also become more controlling when it comes to content shared on its service, or published by its indie "partners."

That's making some creators uneasy. Here's what Pando's David Holmes wrote about YouTube's efforts in January after a cellist named Zoe Keating published the agreement YouTube wanted its partners to sign for access to its new tools:

For many years, YouTube has been a magnificent service, giving anybody on the planet the opportunity to upload their work, control how it’s used, and even make a little money, which they share with YouTube in return for hosting their songs. It decentralized distribution, cutting out middlemen like labels which allowed completely independent upstarts like Macklemore (I know, it’s Macklemore, but from a business perspective it’s an instructive case) to make a career on their own terms. But now YouTube is re-centralizing that model and exerting its power against independents who lack the leverage to negotiate better terms.
Vimeo isn't asking video creators to agree to similar terms. They can sell their content anywhere, they can keep more of the revenues drawn from any sales, and they can use these tools without having to agree to any outrageous terms.

That doesn't mean YouTube doesn't have its benefits. It's the largest video streaming service by far, and even though it's coming under more pressure, YouTube isn't going to cede a whole lot of ground to Vimeo any time soon.

Video creators face a conundrum similar to the one writers have had to deal with as their work shifts online: Do they want control over their work, or do they want to get in front of as many people as possible? Vimeo is betting that video creators will want the former; YouTube is betting they'll want the latter.

[Illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]