Vidme
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Vidme

Goodbye for now

Vidme came a long way as an independent platform, but we couldn’t find a path to sustainability. We’re building something new.

Art by Vidme creator Pegbarians

What this means for users

  • New sign-ups and uploads will be disabled effective today.
  • Existing videos will be playable and exportable from your video manager until December 15th at noon PT, at which point they will be permanently deleted from the Vidme servers.
  • All paid channel subscripitions will be suspended immediately, and subscriber-only videos will be exclusively accessible by their video owners.
  • Any outstanding earnings will be paid out upon verification within 60 days.
  • All Vidme paid subscriptions will cease as of today, and subscribers will no longer be billed.

Why we started Vidme

What we accomplished

Vidme’s original homepage

What we learned and why we’re moving on to something new

  • Advertisers 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 control 60% of online ad spending in the U.S.
  • Most 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.
  • Few 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.
  • Although 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.
  • Videos 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’s high burn rate, and to this day is still likely operating at a loss.
  • When we launched in 2014, we projected that infrastructure costs would decline due to increased competition in the CDN and data storage industries. While marginal prices have fallen dramatically over the past few years, our aggregate costs still outpaced our ability to generate meaningful revenue.
Source: comScore Mobile Metrix, U.S., Age 18+, June 2017 via https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/25/majority-of-u-s-consumers-still-download-zero-apps-per-month-says-comscore/
  • Many 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. Both Facebook and YouTube also actively deprecate content shared from competing platforms (Vidme’s social traffic dropped markedly once Facebook began to prioritize its native player).
  • Without 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 channels.

Insights for newcomers

  • Monetization — 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 scale.
  • Infrastructure 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.
  • Audience building — Leverage an existing audience, and/or incentivize all platform participants by issuing a native currency (e.g. blockchain) to equitably reward contributors.

What’s next for the team

Thank you

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Warren Shaeffer

vp @medium, co-founder @knowablefyi, 3x co-founder (human + biz), very lucky, medium funny. wip.