Vimeo is doing its best to build up its On Demand library, and it has now vowed to throw down a cool half-million to support that initiative. The recently redesigned online video platform has pledged $500,000 to support creators who have successfully completed crowdfunding campaigns of at least $10,000.

The program (called the Audience Development Fund) will allow selected films to receive a free year of the Vimeo PRO service and will give participating filmmakers an opportunity to dip into the Audience Development Fund for marketing support. “Vimeo is committed to empowering filmmakers with the world’s best platform for direct distribution,” said Vimeo General Manager of Audience Networks Greg Clayman. “While crowdfunding has changed the game in getting films made, Vimeo is taking the next step supporting filmmakers to get their work seen and purchased on Vimeo and across the web.”

Vimeo previously attempted to woo top-notch films to its On Demand service by offering $10,000 to filmmakers from the Toronto Film Festival in exchanged for a one-month exclusive window. This new endeavor is reaching for a similar type of film. For instance, at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, 19 of the official selection were funded via Kickstarter.

It’s still unclear just how much of the Audience Development Fund will be allocated to each creator. $500,000 is a big, sexy number, but as the YouTube Original Channels Initiative proved, even 100 million dollars can seem small when split between thousands of videos. At the very least, the project is a sign that Vimeo is serious about bringing premium content to its shores.

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