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Vessel Launches, Offers Early Access to Popular YouTube Content

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YouTube competitor Vessel launched to the public today, bringing early access to content from YouTube stars for a fee. The service, created by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, asks fans to pay $2.99 per month to see popular YouTube content 72 hours before everyone else.

So far, Vessel works on desktops and iOS devices only. It offers two levels of access. Paid members get early access, while free members can see that content after the 72-hour window, and can also view free content from The New York Times, People magazine, Discovery Communications, and other media sites.

During its first three days, Vessel is offering 12 months of free premium service to anyone who signs up. After that, it will offer a 30-day trial to new members.

Vessel is able to attract top YouTube talent by offering them better terms than they get with YouTube. TechCrunch reports that YouTube stars are able to get up to $50 for every thousand views, compared to the $2.20 per thousand they get from YouTube. They also get $7 for every fan who becomes a Vessel subscriber, which gives them an incentive to promote the site to their audience. The site's exclusive providers aren't just YouTube stars: A+E Networks, for example, will post exclusive clips from A&E and Lifetime shows.

While Vessel will offer pre-roll video ads to paid and free subscribers, it's only accepting five-second ads. It will also offer an ad it calls "motion posters," which CNET describes as "moving, full-page magazine ads that you can flip away or pause to check out at your own discretion."

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