November 19, 2014
Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar, who left the service early last year, is among those getting ready to take a run at Google’s YouTube. Kilar is expected to roll out an ad-supported online video service called Vessel as soon as this month, according to insiders. Vessel, to be offered via a free tier or monthly paid subscription service, will reportedly feature videos from top YouTube stars with agreements that will keep the videos off YouTube for three days. Vessel was designed primarily for smartphones and tablets.
“Vessel is said to bear many similarities to Hulu, including its leadership and staff,” reports Advertising Age. “Mr. Kilar’s co-founder Richard Tom was his CTO at Hulu. Vessel’s ad chief Jean-Paul Colaco had been Hulu’s ad chief before leaving to join his former colleagues. And Mr. Kilar has stocked his product team with mostly ex-Hulugans like Hulu’s former VP-product Lonn Lee.”
Kilar first announced the project in June. The service is expected to debut this month or early December, as the company is reportedly still finalizing deals with advertisers and content creators.
“In addition to the mobile apps, Vessel will have a desktop-and-mobile site, and it plans to introduce apps for connected-TV services, which one person said will likely include Apple TV, Roku and Xbox,” notes the article.
Vessel, which is said to have already signed deals with a number of YouTube’s top creators, has the potential to become a major competitor to YouTube’s audiences and advertisers.
“If you look at the digital video marketplace, the top of the triangle is the full-episode player from broadcast and cable networks,” suggests one media buyer. “That’s brand-safe, familiar content, but it’s limited inventory that tends to sell out. The next layer is brand-safe, high-quality, recognizable content. That is the Google Preferred model. That’s what Vessel is striving for.”