Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 02-08-2011

Video-sharing service Vimeo is expanding out of the home with a professional video hosting solution for small businesses.

Vimeo, often characterised as "the other YouTube," cites the statistic that nearly 60% of viewers watch video before reading text on the same web page, and are more likely to make a purchase. That, combined with the fact that 83% of small businesses plan to use social media channels for their business in 2011, means businesses are missing the boat without adding video to their consumer outreach, the company noted. Also, adding video messaging can help the smaller companies level the playing field with their larger competition.

Production companies will be able to create many separate portfolios and share rough cuts with clients. For instance, doctors can create private groups to educate patients on one hand, and medical students on the other.

"Until now, quality video hosting has been expensive, confusing and extremely difficult for a small business owner to understand," said Dae Mellencamp, Vimeo’s general manager, in a statement. "Small businesses have fallen between the cracks of free video services and massive enterprise video solutions. Vimeo PRO resolves the contradiction that best-of-breed video quality and hosting can also be easy and affordable."

And what exactly does "easy and affordable" mean? The PRO account will exist as a separate service outside of the Vimeo.com community, and is priced at $199 for 50GB of storage and 250,000 plays as a flat annual fee. Customers can upload files up to 5GB at a time with no time limits, and Vimeo will not run any advertising. Businesses can purchase increased storage capacity in 50GB increments for $199, and additional plays in increments of 100K for $199.

The features in the service include customisable portfolio websites, video player customisation, video review pages, advanced statistics and reporting, social media sharing and broad privacy settings. Videos support HD and HTML5 video, and offer full tablet, mobile and connected TV formatting.

Vimeo PRO accounts also can opt-in to the Community Pass, which is a feature that allows PRO accounts to interact with the Vimeo.com community as long as the account and each individual video abide by the community guidelines.