Jason Kilar’s Vessel Starts Talking to Advertisers (Report)

/ Oct 9, 2014

Vessel says it's doing well in its first month

As Vessel, former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar’s stealth startup focused on digital video, preps its launch (rumored to come by the end of the year), more information is trickling out about the service and its business model.

A new report from The Wall Street Journal corroborates our earlier report that Vessel will likely to offer both a subscription option and a free, ad-supported version, with a focus on premium short-form video content.

Additionally, we know the company has been targeting digital media companies, YouTube creators, and MCNs to provide content for its service on an exclusive, windowed basis in exchange for better rev-share.

By doing this, Vessel hopes to attract high-end YouTube talent who are still irked by YouTube’s decision to take a 45% cut of all ad revenue. Vessel, WSJ reports, is offering to take as little as 30%, depending on various factors including whether creators choose to distribute content via subscription and how much content they make available on Vessel prior to YouTube.

That much we’re pretty sure of.

But the WSJ also reports that Vessel has finally reached out to Madison Avenue to get advertisers interested in the soon-to-launch service. Per the report, the company has been offering advertisers three different advertising options, including standard 30-second pre-rolls and full page rich-media ads.

The rates? Vessel is asking for $30 to $50 CPMs for the video ads, and is hoping to sell packages that range from $250,000 to $500,000, according to the WSJ. Like Hulu, advertisers would only pay for completed ad-views, though unlike Hulu, Vessel will only run one ad per video.

Only time will tell if Vessel, which hopes to “soft launch” by November according to the report, will be successful in attracting top content creators and advertisers. The key is, obviously, in getting exclusive content for the service. But with other companies also seeking to shack-up with native digital stars — and YouTube itself refreshing its efforts in funding original programming — Vessel has to hope it’s not too late to the party.

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