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Moving forward into the summer month of June, this Multiverse Media Group blog will focus on comparing the differences between popular video sites Vimeo and YouTube with regard to hosting independent or short films, while also taking a look at the marketing capabilities of both for makers of both independent and short films.
So…You’ve Created Your Short Film…
Okay. So you’ve wrapped up your short film, finished your post-production and are now ready to post your masterpiece online…but where do you upload it? Ask a dozen people for advice on this matter and you’re likely to get back just as many opinions – some will say it’s easy…merely upload it to as many online portals as possible. But we don’t think much of that idea. Why? When it comes to the first stages of your release, you want to aim for pointing all your viewers to one single common place, not scatter them around over two or three online locations. In this way, it will be easier to calculate statistics, and if all those stats are concentrated, users will be exposed to the larger number of “likes” or plays and will be more enticed to press play themselves.
After your film’s initial launch push, you will begin seeing your stats lowering into a steady pace…and then you can upload your film onto the other platforms to maximize your audience.
But what about the difference between Vimeo and YouTube, two of the Internet’s largest domineering video hosting sites? What is the difference between Vimeo and YouTube with regard to choosing a place to upload your indie film? Before we delve into the heart of this topic, we’d like to point out that there are no real rights or wrongs here; there indeed are situations that can be viable for each platform. There exist dozens of articles online that repeat the same thing – but for the purpose of this blog, we’re talking about artists and short films, so we’ll focus on these aspects.
The YouTube vs. Vimeo Debate
Before you go any further, you need to establish goals for your film. Are you looking to post the film as an artist or an individual who makes videos? If your goal is to receive as many clicks and views as inherently possible, YouTube is probably a better resource for you to use. A word of caution, however, as we like to consider ourselves experts in the matter of online marketing: While everyone wants the most views possible, there needs to be a differentiation between catering to thousands of random strangers and hundreds that actually CARE. Vimeo certainly has a smaller market, while YouTube reaches in excess of millions; Vimeo tends to cater to an audience that is much more concentrated, such as people looking for creative films…as compared to, say, general YouTubers usually looking for funny clips of someone’s cat dancing.
Factors to consider when balancing Vimeo vs. YouTube:
I. Quality Control
We understand that filmmakers, as members of the creative arts demographic, see their own work in the highest quality light possible. In this regard, both Vimeo and YouTube boast highly respectable quality compression schemes to keep a filmmaker’s videos to an almost seamless loss. Since introducing high definition video, YouTube has stepped up its game yet most of the site’s videos are presented in low-res 360p format for faster initial rendering…though there is a not-so-obvious settings pane so the user can switch to a higher quality for playback. A player can always be set to display the best quality video somewhere in the protocols, but let’s face it: The average user will never bother to go there.
Vimeo, on the other hand, has always put more priority on video quality and size, keeping things simple with an easy-to-find on/off HD toggle. Loading time can sometimes be a bit slower than YouTube, but since the introduction of the new HTML5 player, loading times are quicker than ever.
II. Submission Stats
Over the years, Multiverse has gathered interesting submissions regarding stats on a portal known as FilmShortage.com; now, in support of this Vimeo vs. YouTube blog, we can tell you that what we noted was pretty interesting. After thousands of submissions, the amount of shorts received from YouTube and Vimeo were fairly equal, with Vimeo submissions marginally surpassing its counterpart with 56-percent of all sent films. So, is it fair to say that there are people that upload their films to either platform? You bet.
But where things start getting really interesting is when we look at the big jump in really bad shorts – out of the thousands of indie films we’ve seen, there have been plenty of inexcusably bad “home” videos and films. Still, the statistic attached to them is too important to ignore or mention to you: 100 of 106 recently “red-flagged” films have been seen on YouTube, and that’s an enormous 94-percent…and a pretty exemplary overview of the amount of “junk” videos found on YouTube.
III. Ads and Monetization
These days, people make an honest living just by monetizing online videos…can you believe that? After all, we’re living in an age when to secure your next job interview you’ll have to make sure your online presence – you know, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts – are up to snuff and receiving enough positive hits. What’s frightening is that if you ask anyone over the age of 40, they’ll tell you about a time when landing their first job didn’t involve a prospective employer (someone who wasn’t decades YOUNGER than them) searching for every detail regarding their personal virtual life. This is simply where we are now.
But we digress: Living off short films is a more difficult prospect. YouTube offers monetization by placing ads on videos, which can generate a few bucks if it yields thousands of views. However, if you are a filmmaker trying to make a name for yourself, the monetization process can backfire: If you are creating a short film, your main target will always be short film enthusiasts who are usually other short filmmaking artists themselves. And we can tell you that artists usually tend to grumble at interruptions or distractions.
The beauty of Vimeo – and a big reason for the platform’s success – is that the videos are free of ads, something that artists love. Vimeo introduced the “Tip Jar” as an unobtrusive way for artists to monetize: Instead of making a percentage of revenue on ad clicks like YouTube does, Vimeo provides the viewer an opportunity to donate directly to the artists any amount they like.
Vimeo even now offers Vimeo on Demand, a platform that allows filmmakers to charge viewers for renting or buying their production. The system’s easy-to-use tools are reserved for Vimeo Pro members solely, and only holds 10-percent of the profits, leaving the filmmaker the rest of that 90-percent.
As a team of artists, designers and video production experts ourselves, we constantly examine our surroundings subconsciously – and the Internet is not immune in this regard. Vimeo does a great job at keeping their site clean and making videos the largest and most evident part of the homepage, with no visual distractions and an easy navigation protocol that allows viewers to watch films to the very end. YouTube did a very nice job at completely redesigning their site a few years ago, yielding a much better user experience, yet the amount of information and clutter is sometimes overwhelming; your eyes wander constantly through the infinite stream of pop-up ads, suggested videos and comments…not to mention those oh-so-convenient ads prior to the videos playing.
Some options can be very useful for short films, however, such as the Closed Captioning (CC) for subtitles, which can integrate and change languages as the viewer watches. This is also now available on Vimeo.
The Marketing Factor
An attractive video presence will give your independent film or short more professionalism – believe us. As a marketing launch pad, the benefits of both Vimeo and YouTube are multifaceted: Place your film on Vimeo, point everyone to the same link for the first few weeks and once your first wave of hits passes, upload your video to YouTube as well, so you will have a link for mobile users and random searches.
Ultimately the choices come from your needs, so study your situation and choose wisely. It’s difficult to pick a side here; many people are big fans of Vimeo ever since it arrived on the scene, and for good reason: It offers related and quality videos on what people are searching for and is a great place to find awesome videos including shorts and independent films. Without any surprise, YouTube excels in searches and marketing and you may even find people stumbling upon your film merely by accident and a sense of intrigue.
Good luck with the launch of your indie film and remember to refer to Multiverse Media Group for any support you may need!