Vessel drops ads for paying subscribers

VesselVessel, the online video start-up from former Hulu boss Jason Kilar, has dropped the ads on the service for paying subscribers and introduced a new annual payment option.

CEO Kilar said in a blog post that the change follows user feedback and that “one of the most popular requests has been for an ad-free experience” since Vessel launched a year ago.

The ad-free option will apply to those who pay for Vessel’s US$2.99 per-month subscription, and for those who sign up for its new US$19.99 per-annum plan – which gives users one year’s access at 44% off the regular monthly price.

“For those fans who would prefer to watch their favourite videos on Vessel without a paid subscription, they can continue to do so via our free, ad-supported service,” said Kilar.

Revealing some company stats, the Vessel boss said that it now has paying subscribers from more than 155 countries and that content creators who use Vessel’s paid, early access service continue to earn “more than US$50 in revenue per thousand views”.

Kilar said that Vessel now offers more than 300,000 videos from over 250 content partners – up over 50% since last summer – but added “we are still very much in the early days”.

Vessel first launched to the public in March 2015. The service is designed to offer “early access to the web’s best short-form creators”, with users paying to get access to videos – typically for a 72-hour period – before they are available for free on the web on sites like YouTube.

Free users do not get the early access to content, but can still browse and watch videos on the service. Vessel said in the small print that its new ad-free approach for paid users excludes music videos.

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