When it comes to video sites, we tend to talk a lot about YouTube and for good reason, it is the largest video portal in the world. But being the biggest doesn’t always mean that it’s the best choice for every filmmaker or content creator and that’s where Vimeo has carved out a very nice niche for itself amongst indie film professionals and those who don’t want to have to constantly compete against cat videos and gaming walk throughs. The site, created in 2004, differs profoundly from YouTube in that it has always focused on the creator who uploads their content, rather than the viewer who watches it.

That’s not to say that they don’t value the user experience as highly as their rival of course, but it’s the quality not the quantity of the videos they carry that differentiates them. Vimeo promotes videos on their front page by merit, not by popularity or by trending data and the T&C’s make it clear what content they will tolerate and what content will be taken down. As the go-to site for many videographers, bloggers and filmmakers it is holding its own against YouTube with a respectable 18 million members and 100 million visitors per month. We take a look back, in no particular order, at 7 of the most important moments in the site’s history.

1. 2008: Vimeo Launch Their Ad Free Paid Plus Service

In October 2008, the site announced its $60 a year ‘Vimeo Plus‘ package which allowed those who paid the annual fee an extra upload allowance (of up to 5GB), unlimited creation of ad free channels, albums and groups and HD videos and embeds, privacy options and a better quality standard of video. Unsurprisingly, the unveiling of Plus also heralded the downgrading of the free account.

vimeo plus

2.  2011: Vimeo Unveils PRO Account For Brands And Businesses

Up until August 2011, Vimeo made it clear that they would only accept non-commercial video content on the site. This all changed with the launch of Vimeo PRO which not only allowed businesses to upload their videos but actively encouraged brands to sign up with the lure of exclusive features such as an advanced statistics package, a brandable video player and no bandwidth cap. The standalone service, at $200 per year, buys 50GB of upload space with up to 250,000 embedded video plays.

3. 2013: Vimeo Release First Feature Film With ‘Some Girl(s)’

After debuting at SXSW, indie production ‘Some Girl(s) used Vimeo on Demand as their main distribution network of choice. The film, starring Adam Brody and Kristen Bell, became the first full length feature to be released globally on Vimeo “day-and-date” with a low key cinema presence in 4 U.S. cities. It was made available for streaming at $5 and to own for $10. Last month, Vimeo offered Toronto Film Festival entrants a cash advance of $10,000 for the rights to their work for 30 days.

4.  2013: Vimeo On Demand Monetizes PRO Video Content

Vimeo on Demand gave PRO subscribers the opportunity to monetize their content behind a paywall with a 90% revenue share in their favour. The feature gave the content creator distribution options based on location and price as well a choice of customisable page designs. Launched in March 2013, it offered filmmakers a lot of control over their content, not least of all the option to sell their work from their own site as well as from Vimeo. Last month, the site restructured the service to allow for rental as well as buying options, along with extra marketing support and the ability to pre-order titles. Vimeo currently carries around 2,000 films available via this service.

5. 2007: Vimeo Becomes First Video Site To Offer HD Quality

In October 2007, Vimeo announced their support for HD playback in native 720p, becoming the first video sharing site to offer user generated videos the chance to be displayed in High Definition. Since August 2010, all video uploads are encoded into H.264 for HTML5 support. Free account holders can upload one HD video per week. This really was a huge step forward for the site and one which firmly established itself in the hearts of amateur filmmakers. And here’s an absolutely stunning example of what HD quality can bring to a film:

6. 2010: Vimeo Awards Reward The Very Best Content

Vimeo held their first awards show to celebrate the best of the Vimeo community in September 2010. Festival judges included David Lynch and Morgan Spurlock and the competition received over 6500 entries. “Last Minutes with Oden” took home the $25,000 grand prize and this beautiful film, Apricot by Ben Briand, won the Community Choice award:

7. 2006: Vimeo Is Acquired By Media Giant IAC/InterActiveCorp

Vimeo (an anagram of movie) was founded as a side project in late 2004 by Jakob Lodwick and Zach Klein of Connected Ventures, the company behind CollegeHumor. In August 2006, multimedia giant IAC/InterActiveCorp purchased Vimeo in as part of its acquisition of 51% of Connected Ventures. The deal, rumoured to be worth around $20 Million, ensured the backing of industry veteran Barry Diller and added Vimeo to IAC’s stable of impressive sites such as TicketMaster and the Home Shopping Network. 2012 saw a flurry of speculation that Diller was looking to sell a substantial share in the site but nothing has been heard since.