Vimeo’s Sam Toles reveals plans media strategy and business

Toles speaks later this month at the Business of Media Summit

Entertainment industry veteran Sam Toles, Head of Global Content & Distribution at Vimeo, on his vision for content, distribution and media strategy in an ever-changing industry.
He speaks later this month at the Business of Media Summit at Swissotel Sydney on 15-16 November. 

Toles has held senior roles at the likes of FremantleMedia, Gaiam and more, and has has substantially expanded the content offerings and revenue growth for Vimeo On Demand.

On-demand content is rising in popularity – what do you think underpins this trend, and how do you anticipate this will progress into the future? 

I remember asking my uncle years ago why he didn’t have cable TV. His answer stuck with me and I believe it is one of the key reasons for the explosion of on demand services. He said he would subscribe when he could choose the channels and programming he wished to pay for.
Consumers love choice. It is the fundamental benefit to an on demand world – choice of content, choice of viewing time and length of time spent viewing, choice to exclude interruptive advertising.

What role do partnerships play in navigating the media landscape? 

he types of partnerships remain familiar – creative, distribution and marketing. Creative partnerships with filmmakers, talent, production companies and their representatives are the keys to making amazing content.

Relationships with newly emerging distribution platforms such as Roku, iOS and Android coupled with engagement across social media like Facebook and Twitter are essential in establishing connections between content and consumers.

Today’s increasingly global economy has led to media platforms catering to a much broader audience. How do you handle the pressure this brings? 

The key is not creating broad content that appeals to everyone, as consumers are different and expect different things. The emergence of niche content and services combined with the explosion of regional (or local) content supports the notion that being focused is a far better approach than trying to be all things to all people.

How do you guide Vimeo’s content strategy to stand out from contemporaries like Netflix, YouTube and more? 

We focus on data to determine who our audience is, what they watch, what they’re willing to pay for and how they engage with the content we serve. This is fairly typical across the digital players.

We differentiate by adding a layer of human curation in the form of Staff Picks to showcase the best of what the platform has to offer and lean into the most talented community of filmmakers on the planet to source our original programming.

Being customer-focused is vital in the media. How does this play into Vimeo’s creator-driven business model? 

Everything we do is focused on supporting the evolution of our filmmaking community, which is our core. If we can provide new paths to success for those who choose Vimeo as the place to showcase or sell their content, we can create a virtuous circle for those aspiring to follow in their footsteps.

Vimeo offers the best tools and a huge audience to bring value and entertain our film makers and audience alike. 

You can still register to attend The Business of Media Summit to be held on 15-16 November. Visit the website here.

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