Vimeo has been working on an iPhone app for a long time, determined to make it as good as possible. And from the sound of it, they've succeeded, which means the wait has been worth it. Today Vimeo has released a free iPhone app that allows users to watch Vimeo clips on their phone. More importantly, however, it also allows you to shoot and edit videos from the device.
The Vimeo iPhone App Details
It's an unexpected-but-welcome feature for the app, which many assumed would simply be a video viewer for Vimeo clips. But instead of a passive app, they've released one that is quite active, allowing you to create, perfect, and share your creations on the go.
The main competition for the new Vimeo app is YouTube, just as it is online, where YouTube is the clear market leader. There's even a YouTube app pre-installed on every iPhone device. So in the race to pry consumer eyeballs away from YouTube, the Vimeo app needed to pack a special punch. That punch comes in the form of video creation editing capabilities, and I think the Vimeo crowd is going to love it.
GigaOm sure seems impressed:
...a simple video editor built into the Vimeo app... lets you add simple titles and text to the clip, create transitions and add a soundtrack. It's a pretty bare bones editor, but it's also one that works remarkably well considering it's not even the primary purpose of the app. It feels like you could do a pretty great job of shooting, editing and publishing simple, impressive short videos all without ever even leaving Vimeo.
It's worth pointing out that Apple's own iMovie app--released not too long ago--does many of the same things Vimeo's app does. So getting consumers to adopt the new app could take some time.
Will It Be A Success?
Vimeo has carved out a nice niche in the online video space, particularly by differentiating their content. Vimeo caters more to visual artists, and has carefully built a very warm and vibrant community. YouTube, on the other hand, takes on all new customers without regard for the quality of content or discussion. Most Vimeo users wouldn't be caught dead uploading to YouTube.
So in that regard, there's a built-in audience out there for this thing, made up of Vimeo's already-loyal fans. But will the app be enough to pull any YouTube loyalists away from that camp? It's doubtful. If you aren't already using Vimeo to upload and share your clips, you're probably not going to change your mind on the strength of a single iPhone app.
But I'm not convinced new customer acquisition is even one of Vimeo's motives for creating the app. I really think they value their customers... and that their customers have been clamoring for an iPhone app. It could be as simple as that.
Back when the app was in development, General Manager Dae Mellencamp basically said as much:
"Vimeo user has been asking for an iPhone app for a long time. Not everybody uses the browser as much, on the iPhone particularly. People have become prone to using the apps. We want to be where the users are.”
I find more and more great video content on Vimeo every day. The world needs video communities that set the bar high and go after clips and creators that rise above the casual home-videos of YouTube. In some ways, this Vimeo app is long overdue, and gives fans a way to watch great artistic video while on the go.
In other ways, the wait was truly worth it, as users can now do a whole lot more than just watch a Vimeo clip--they can create a new one from scratch.