Battle for Video Talent Poses New Test for YouTube

The growing number of companies vying to become distributors of short-form video content is upping the ante for YouTube, even as the Google unit takes new steps to remain the favored platform for video producers.

The latest competition comes from Vessel, the video streaming startup from former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar. Executives behind the yet-to-be released platform have been offering sweetened terms to creators, sometimes paying big for a guarantee of temporary exclusivity.

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Still, he faces a big challenge in trying to get creators to hold off on distributing their videos through YouTube, which despite its issues with monetization, remains the single best audience aggregator on the Internet. The higher licensing fees will help for a time, but the bigger question is whether Vessel can offer a longer term payout.

—Amir Efrati contributed to this article.


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Mr. Kilar is seen by many executives in both the tech and media industries as the first person to helm a company that offered high quality video in a compelling and attractive platform.