Some of the main creators of content in video format on the crowdfunding platform Patreon have begun to receive e-mails in recent weeks from Vimeo, requiring them to pay large sums of money ( for having exceeded the maximum bandwidth) under the threat of suppressing its contents.
Jenny Nicholson, one of those affected, explains in a Twitter thread that the account types offered as an alternative “are an Enterprise plan (there is no price listed; I have to call for a quote, but the lower tier is $500 a month) or a custom plan (same, they create a price based on my stats).” And this despite boasting a certainly modest level of visits:
You might be interested in Elden Ring will have crossplay, but not between all platforms
The case of Channel 5
Last January, those responsible for Channel 5, a video journalism channel that operates from Patreon, discovered that all its videos had ceased to be available. Having been isolated on a shoot in the mountains of California, they returned to find that they had lost half a thousand subscribers.
Upon contacting Patreon, their support contact explained that the problem was not with Patreon directly, “but with Patreon’s embedded beta video uploader, which for some reason, had been using Vimeo as a your hosting platform“.
When, after several attempts, they were able to contact a Vimeo senior account manager, he explained that the “videos had been removed from Patreon because I had exceeded Vimeo’s ‘bandwidth limit’“.
Apart from the surprise to discover that they had violated the limits of a service that until recently they did not even know they were using, what confused them most was the fact that their exclusive videos for subscribers accumulated only “a couple of thousand views per video, which is nothing compared to our view counts on major platforms.” A case parallel to that of Jenny Nicholson.
Given that access to the videos was impossible, because they had already been blocked, the only option offered by the video platform before permanently deleting all their work was “to pay between 8,000 and 9,000 dollars a year“:
The email from Vimeo received by those responsible for Channel 5.
“Vimeo is a great company. We’re sure there’s something in the fine print of their terms of service that covers this kind of shady business practice, but we’ve been completely taken aback. It’s not creator-friendly, and we think that Vimeo is making a huge mistake retroactively demanding large sums of money.”
Channel 5 managers explained that they kept high-quality copies of all their material, but that they preferred not to have to re-upload it all or fill their subscribers’ inboxes with spam (it was pre-viewed content), plus they they wanted to retain feedback from their users.
“Realistically, we’ll probably have to ransom Vimeo next week.”
YouTube, consider yourself challenged: Patreon will offer its own video platform to creators
What’s going on between Patreon and Vimeo?
What is behind all this is the announcement made at the end of November 2021 by Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon, in which he revealed that the company is working on offering its own video hosting and its own integrated player to make it easier for its creators to offer exclusive content without depending on external services.
As our Xataka colleagues explained at the time, “the service now uses the Vimeo infrastructure to publish its videos, but the objective would be to abandon it as its own platform is implemented“.
However, it doesn’t seem like your current provider is waiting for a final divorce with your arms crossed. Video game creator Justin Alexander has his own theory about Vimeo’s motivations:
“Vimeo is likely trying to get as much as possible out of relevant content creators on Patreon before Patreon launches its rival service. They believe that they’re going to lose count anyway, so they might as well blackmail the creators before it’s too late.”
Another content creator, ‘6AT0’, has also tweeted in support of that idea:
“Bonus! Bonus! Vimeo is extorting and holding content creators’ accounts hostage for an unbelievable amount of ransom money upon learning that Patreon will start direct video hosting by severing any ties to them.” .