News & Analysis

Former Hulu CEO launches new online video subscription service Vessel

- March 25, 2015 2 MIN READ

Vessel, an online video subscription service created by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, has launched to the public today. The service is asking users to pay $2.99 a month to watch content from YouTube stars 72 hours before it’s available on their personal channels for free.

Getting consumers to pay up to watch content they could watch for free if they wait a few days may sound like a risky idea, but it’s actually a proven model: Kilar worked with the same concept at Hulu over six years ago. Hulu has now passed 6 million paying subscribers.

Video streaming services have almost become a dime a dozen – Australia has seen the launch of Netflix, Stan, and Presto in the last few months alone. It’s a crowded market, but Kilar’s new startup, which raised a $75 million seed round last year, is working based on the idea that with the way we consume video changing, the content we watch on our mobile devices is varies to that we watch on bigger screens. In turn, Vessel believes it has identified a new market.

The mission statement on Vessel’s website reads:

“We believe that today’s online creators make the videos that matter most to the next generation of video consumers. These creators are developing new formats and shows that are authentic, personal, relevant and relatable to millions of fans around the globe. No matter your passion, the sheer variety of the content being created every day means that there will always be something for you.

We believe that the device in your pocket will be the screen that matters most. These mobile devices are always present, accessible and available, enabling you to watch videos wherever and whenever you want. Because this screen is fundamentally different from the TV in your living room, it has changed how we consume video. As that happens, the videos and shows we watch are changing, too.”

The startup believes that consumers will be willing to pay for content that is personal and relatable.

Vessel states that content creators will approximately $50 per 1000 views a video receives while in the early access period. It claims this is up to 20 times more per view than what creators earn from platforms like YouTube, while it’s also offering creators $7 per fan they refer to the platform.

With almost 170 creators signed up to the service, Vessel is offering users who sign up within the next three days a free year’s subscription. It will also offer users a 30 day free trial.