YouTube vs Vimeo (Part 1): Where to Watch Great Content Online

Marching to Two Very Different Drums

You walk into a party. Your buddy YouTube is bounding around the room in conversation with everyone‚ is clearly popular‚ and promises an interaction that is easy and drama-free. Meanwhile a little off to the side is your pal Vimeo. He’s a bit quieter but still cool – and while your not sure his whole ‘wearing a hat indoors’ thing works – his epic mustache affirms this is a guy guaranteed to have some stories.

Straw Hat

‘It’s a great hat buddy but not ‘wear indoors’ great’

Where to go and get involved first is a tough decision – YouTube will likely find a way to get you involved in the party – but as it does you just know Vimeo is up to something really cool. Let’s look more now at each site.

YouTube Vs Vimeo by The Numbers

YouTube is a behemoth.  You upload, and instantly your accessible via the default video website of choice. While the cited statistic of over 1 billion users sounds impressive (if a measure of the occasional over the active and daily user) the huge rates of growth of 50% year over year, and 40% daily use since March 2014 affirms YouTube is the giant of online video.

Vimeo by contrast is not as ubiquitous as YouTube,  but there is less muck and filler – think more short timelapse landscapes over cute cat videos – but what it holds within its smaller size is a rich collection of content.

Anyone shooting a video on Vimeo usually has AT LEAST 1 clapperboard in their home.

Anyone shooting a video on Vimeo usually has AT LEAST one clapperboard.

As a general rule, many of the videos on Vimeo enjoy a higher production value than those of YouTube. Whether it is footage captured with powerful technology,  top-notch editing, or simply the quality of storytelling and narrative; Vimeo is often a cut above YouTube.

Content and Audience

At the same time though, this focus on optics over access can at times get a bit too niche or abstract for many people’s tastes. Keen to see a skater get air on a half pipe connected to an old train track? Wonderful. How about a doc on John Neese, of the iconic Galco’s Soda Pop Stop in LA? Fascinating. NOW, how about a vid on the history of door frames? Oh Yea…ah..nah (frame on your frame fans just understand its not everyone bag).

'Coming this summer by popular demand: Door Frames The Movie!'

Coming this summer by popular demand: ‘Door Frames: The Movie’

Accordingly, while Vimeo is often a chief drawcard for artists, filmakers, and designers, YouTube has no shortage of fantastic documentaries and regular vids with wonderful production value. Just as you can get a great short of LA intersped with M83’s electro chords  on Vimeo, over on YouTube the Documentary Network is pulling out all the stops to do justice to Barcelona’s beauty.

So, those few serious souls who adhere to a Vimeo-only digest do the same disservice to themselves as the Youtube-exclusive crowd who doesn’t go Vimeo treasure hunting now and then.  

Online Video is Like Wings for a Bird: It needs both Youtube and Vimeo to Fly

Here a great animation from Vimeoer Danny Giglia that captures landmarks of the Melbourne CBD and city’s culture, just as Youtuber Guruvasa has captured the iconic Melbourne Central Clock playing Waltzing Matilda at 9am in the morning. Both videos are different in design and aspire to different aims; but both detail capture wonderfully an element that makes up life in a great world city.

So if a keen videographer, an aspiring animator – or simply a viewer who couldn’t choose between a fantastic doc and the latest NBA ‘what if‘? – make some extra popcorn tonight and swing by both YouTube and Vimeo.

Ed Kennedy is a journalist, ghostwriter, and web developer from Melbourne, Australia. Contact Ed via on LinkedIn or Twitter@EdKennedy01

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