Vessel, a new video streaming service, aimed squarely at taking on the YouTube model, has launched today. The concept behind this new approach to streaming is temporary exclusivity. A surprising number of big-name YouTubers and other content creators (like TED Talks) have climbed aboard.
Henceforth they will all upload the videos to Vessel a few days before they eventually hit their regular YouTube channels.
The price of this short-lived restricted access? US$2.99 per month. However, if you sign up within the next 3 days (today included), or if you were part of the beta, you’ll get a full year for free.
How is it different?
Vessel isn’t laid out like YouTube. It’s a more graphically-oriented user interface, based more around genres of videos rather than specific subscriptions.
You can still ‘Follow’ your favourite channels, but they’ll show up in their respective genre feed next to other videos that Vessel thinks you might like. Of course, you can always go directly to the channel’s own area and only view its content.
There is still the occasional ad, but so far we've never seen one last more than 5 seconds, which is a significant improvement over those 15-30 seconds ones that can pop up on the bigger YouTube channels.
What’s the point?
Derek Muller of popular YouTube channel Veritasium explains it perfectly in likening YouTube to the Irish people’s dependence on potatoes prior to the great famine in the 19th century. The basic gist: don’t put all your eggs (or potatoes) in one basket.
Offering video creators a second platform to upload their content provides three things:
- Competition for YouTube, which may cause YouTube to evolve in order to maintain relevancy
- Extra income for YouTube creators, who can now expect a slice of that US$3 per month
- A second platform on which to host their content, just in case unexpected events lead to issues with YouTube as a service
Will it work?
Probably not. Vessel is an interesting idea, but YouTube is too big and important a part of internet culture to be replaced or even contested with any time soon.
In terms of shaking-things-up, Google may end up seeing a few of its own flaws from the perspective of Vessel and addressing them. Heck, it might even buy Vessel if it becomes too much of a thorn in its side.
Will Vessel survive as a permanent and important fixture of the internet? It seems unlikely.
But who cares? If you sign up today, or within the next two following days, you get a year’s subscription for free. At that price, you really can’t lose anything by giving it a go.