Vimeo’s new interactive video magazine lets users “choose their own adventure”

Spotlighting “supremely silly” work and “terrific animations”, issue two of the enterprise marries “the curated joy of magazines and the richness of video”.

Date
1 August 2022

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In late 2021, Vimeo bought the interactive video platform Wirewax. For Rob Alderson, Vimeo’s director of community and engagement – and It’s Nice That’s very own previous editor-in-chief – it was a chance to realise a longstanding obsession: to publish a video magazine. Video Matters is exactly that, a new interactive monthly publication which rounds up a selection of that month’s must-see content on Vimeo. Each issue of the publication, which launched in June and is currently on issue two, features Staff Picks, a selection of marketing videos including ads and a themed collection from the Vimeo archives. This month, the archive theme is films that reflect on women’s right to choose in light of the US Supreme Court decision.

Video Matters looks, at first, like a singular video with timestamps. However, upon playing the video, users can choose between the magazine’s three sections, with the option to learn more about each video within them. This approach to UX – i.e. a choose-your-own-adventure format – took some testing from Vimeo. The first prototype of Video Matters functioned more like a microsite “bundled into a video frame”, says Rob. Jen Mendler and Charlie Potter, both part of Vimeo’s interactive team and builders of the magazine, adapted the idea into its current form to bring serendipity into the experience.

“My favourite thing about a magazine is that moment when you turn a page and come across something you had no idea you were interested in. That’s hard to recreate in the digital world with algorithms and filter bubbles etc.,” Rob explains. “That’s why in places we throw you into a stream of videos to see what captures your imagination.” The magazine seeks to balance this more unexpected touch with user control, hence the focus on navigational options.

The blurring of video and content curation is a phenomenon that seems to be accelerating – evident, not least, in Instagram’s recent moves to increase the number of Reels and videos on users’ feeds. But how does a company that has forever been video-first view the future of the video content market going forward? In short, Rob says: “We really think interactive is going to define the future of video, moving from a passive lean-back experience to something much more engaged and engaging.”

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Vimeo: Video Matters (Copyright © Vimeo, 2022)

Edited by Aubrey Page and Meghan Oretsky, Video Matters Issue Two is curated just like a regular magazine. Rob attests the challenges were largely the same too. In the marketing section, audiences will discover “a genuinely funny Dropbox product film, a great BBC brand story and a clever idea from Coors”. Meanwhile, Staff Picks – a famed area of the site Rob was keen to amp up – features two “very different” animated works of a cityscape adventure and a story of a forgotten folk singer. Finally, on this month’s archive theme, Rob concludes: “We felt strongly that we wanted to respond to the US Supreme Court’s decision to remove the federal right to abortion. I am really proud of the films we present here that reflect on the issue in very different, but very human, ways.”

For Rob, the magazine not only presents an exciting opportunity to experiment with a gap in the market; it’s also the culmination of a personal goal. “I had always wondered if it was possible to do a video magazine that would marry the curated joy of magazines and the richness of video,” he explains. Explore the result from the Vimeo team here.

GalleryVimeo: Video Matters (Copyright © Vimeo, 2022)

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Vimeo: Video Matters (Copyright © Vimeo, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.

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