Strange bedfellows: Vimeo makes a deal with Machinima

Here's a partnership I never expected to see. Yesterday Variety reported that Vimeo entered into a deal with Machinima to bring the latter's content to Vimeo's On-Demand service. Vimeo has pledged $500,000 to develop original content from Machinima's creators and that content will be for sale (Vimeo On-Demand is their paid section) exclusively on Vimeo.

So why did I find that surprising? Because those of us with long memories recall that Vimeo kicked gamers off its service in 2008: 

The Vimeo staff has decided that we are no longer going to allow gaming videos on Vimeo. Specifically, we are no longer going to allow game walk-throughs, game strategy videos, depictions of player vs player battles, raids, fraps, or any other video gaming videos that simply depict individuals playing a video game. Videos falling into this category will be subject to deletion as of September 1st; new videos of this type will be removed.

Machinima has its roots in gamer culture. The term "machinima" means content created within a game or other real-time graphics engine. A good example is Rooster Teeth's Red vs Blue  which is filmed inside the Halo games.

Now to be fair, Vimeo did exclude machinima when it sent gamers packing, but expecting us to go to YouTube to watch gaming videos and then to move over to Vimeo to watch machinima seemed to be asking a bit too much. At least it was asking too much of me; maybe I'm just lazy. I can't recall that I've ever gone to Vimeo in search of gaming-related content (which is what I consider machinima to be) since they got rid of gaming videos.

For me Vimeo has been the place to go for 'short films' and YouTube the place to go to watch gaming vids and random stuff like clips of dogs being goofy in the snow. Machinima (the site) started with its focus on machinima (the art form) but it has since spread out well beyond that and is now more of a general interest site. From that point of view the Vimeo deal makes some sense, but I'm not sure Vimeo is where I expect to see content like "Top Ten Movie Porn Stars" (a recent selection from Machinima's YouTube channel). 

It remains to be seen how much of Machima's audience hangs out at Vimeo, and it'll be interesting to see how many people are willing to open their wallet to watch content from Machinima's creators. We're all very used to watching this kind of thing for free on YouTube or even the free side of Vimeo.

One other side note. Machinima is one of Vessel's early content providers and it's featured fairly prominently in Vessel's marketing materials. I wonder if this Vimeo deal will impact Machinima's partnership with Vessel. I also wonder if this is part of the reason Machinima's most recent content on Vessel is from three months ago.

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