The hype for Vessel, a new startup from former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, started building this summer when it was reported that it had raised a whopping $75 million in its first round of funding. But it wasn't until Wednesday morning that Kilar finally unveiled what exactly the new startup is all about. Here's everything you need to know.
1. Better Video Monetization
The primary goal for Vessel is to generate more revenue for Web video creators than they get from other video-streaming websites like YouTube. Online video creators currently earn "single-digit dollars for every thousand views their videos generate," Kilar said in a blog post. Vessel will make them an estimated $50 per 1,000 views, Kilar claims.
2. Early-Access Charges
To accomplish its goal, Vessel will charge users a $2.99 monthly subscription for the right to view content from their favorite Web video creators before it is posted on other services. Creators who sign up for Vessel will be able to post videos on the service and keep it there exclusively for at least 72 hours. Vessel said creators will receive 60 percent of each month's subscription revenue, which will be divied up according to how much traffic each creator's Vessel-exclusive content generates. Users will be able to sign up for Vessel subscriptions early next year once it launches to the public.
3. Vessel Will Run Ads
As a second form of revenue, Vessel will run "a modest amount of advertising" on its service. It will also offer a free version of its service fully supported by ads that will not include early access to content. Vessel said it will give creators 70 percent of all advertising revenue, but it did not specify how that will be divied up. In all likelihood, the money will be allocated the same way as subscription revenue.
4. Big Head Start
The video startup did not say exactly how many video creators it has signed up, but it claims that there are "already a large number of creators and content owners from the web, television, and film who are uploading their videos and preparing their channels for consumers." With Wednesday's announcement, Vessel also opened up its service so that more creators can apply to have their content included. More videos and content owners will be added every day, Kilar said. It's the same case with advertising. Vessel did not say how many advertisers it's gotten on board other than claiming to "already have a large number of top-tier advertisers committed to Vessel's launch, and beyond."
5. Made By The Hulu Guys
Rarely does a startup launch with so much money and fanfare, but that's the case with Vessel primarily because of who's involved. Former Hulu CEO Kilar is the man leading the way. Kilar's fellow co-founder is Richard Tom, who prior to Vessel was Hulu's chief technology officer. Kilar and Tom have shown that they know what consumers want when it comes to online video. With Hulu, the pair proved that consumers wanted to watch TV shows on their own schedule and were willing to pay for that right. This time around, Kilar and Tom are betting that online users are willing to pay for early access to their favorite Web video shows and series.