Vimeo Will Let Video Creators Ask for Tips, Put Up Paywalls

Hopes to Attract More Content Creators With Potential for Revenue

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The video-hosting site Vimeo is introducing a pair of ways for users to try earning extra cash from their videos and films.

Tip Jar, which is exactly what it sounds like, became available Wednesday for Vimeo subscribers who pay a fee for features such as extra space or branded video players. A pay-to-view system allowing video creators to put paywalls around their work will follow in the next few months.

The features continue Vimeo's effort to provide a high-quality platform for creators "to create, share, discover and now monetize," said Kerry Trainor, Vimeo CEO.

They could also generate new revenue for Vimeo. The site will keep 15% of gross revenue, for example, from the new Tip Jars, which let viewers show their financial appreciation before, during or after watching a video.

Although consumers haven't rewarded every online request for donations, Vimeo saw the success of various crowd-funding sites over the past couple of years and felt the Tip Jar approach could work, Mr. Trainor said.

Vimeo will start introducing the paywall service this fall with a series of films that it has curated itself. Once it becomes more broadly available, Vimeo subscribers will be able to customize their pay-to-view options, controlling elements such as price, distribution location and rental duration.

Vimeo declined to discuss how it will split pay-to-view revenue with content creators.

Other video platforms have introduced similar pay-to-view models before. Ooyala implemented an optional paywall in 2010, followed by Vzaar and Brightcove this year. But those sites are targeted more toward businesses and brands than consumers, where Vimeo concentrates its efforts.

YouTube also said in April that it would offer an optional paywall for live events streaming on YouTube.

For its part Vimeo -- which became one of the top 10 video distributors online in June, according to ComScore -- has three revenue streams: advertising, subscriptions and transactions. The platform scored a big viral hit two weeks ago when Wieden & Kennedy chose it to feature Old Spice's new "Muscle Music" ad campaign, but the core of Vimeo's business comes from subscriptions.

The new features stand to expand the transactions portion of the business and perhaps subscribers as well. "We think both Tip Jar and the pay-to-view features will open up Vimeo to a group of creators who aren't willing to share for free," Mr. Trainor said. Registered users now number around 13 million, according to Vimeo.

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