OTT moves: Vessel opens for business, while Popcornflix jumps onto Xbox

Just in time for those holiday streaming binges, a number of OTT players are getting in front of audiences. For one, former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar's new premium service, Vessel, is now open for video creators to upload content. Meanwhile, Amazon added the HBO Go app to its Fire TV streaming device, and Popcornflix became available on Microsoft's Xbox One in the U.S. and Canada.

Kilar's latest OTT venture directly targets the growing number of YouTube stars that have built dedicated audiences--and who are looking to get out of YouTube's revenue model, which gives them at most a 55 percent split of advertising (less if they're affiliated with a multichannel network, which takes another cut). Vessel will offer $2.99 monthly subscriptions to view its exclusive video content, which its content creators agree to make available only on the service and nowhere else for a few days.

The exclusivity agreement is generous: Creators need only make it exclusive for as few as 72 hours. Compare that to another creator-friendly site, Vimeo, which requires exclusivity agreements of 30 days. During that exclusive period, creators get a 60 percent cut of subscriptions and 70 percent of advertising dollars. The site claims creators will average a CPM of $50 during the period.

Vessel's move illustrates the continuing strategies that smaller independent OTT providers are taking to eat away at the share of views garnered not just by ad-supported YouTube, but also by SVOD providers like Hulu.

Popcornflix, an ad-supported streaming service, continues to expand its presence in the app ecosystem, announcing that it's available to Xbox One users in North America. The company said it will be available to PlayStation 4 users in the first quarter of 2015. Long a staple on Roku as well as through Android and iOS-based mobile devices, Popcornflix is in the running with other ad-supported services like Crackle that work to attract consumers hunting for content they can't always get on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

In other OTT news, Amazon finally added the HBO Go app to its Fire TV streaming device. The app isn't yet available for its streaming stick, but the retailer said it will be added by spring 2015. Unfortunately for Charter and Comcast subscribers, neither pay-TV service will authenticate the app on Fire TV yet--illustrating continuing hitches with TV Everywhere services.

For more:
- see Vessel's Creators page
- The Verge has this story
- see Amazon's press release
- and Popcornflix's announcement

Special Report: Breaking out of YouTube: JW Player, ILOOK offer alternatives for enterprise online video

Related articles:
Comcast to finally let Roku users stream HBO and Showtime
Win or lose, Aereo's impact could change OTT market
YouTube reportedly frets as stars tempted by competing OTT services
Former Hulu CEO Kilar unveils latest startup, Vessel

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