Vimeo On Demand celebrates first birthday, gives filmmakers money, viewers a fresh interface

Web video's growing up before our eyes, folks. A year ago, Vimeo On Demand made its debut to help content makers get paid by content consumers (that's you) directly, and, presumably, to help folks think of Vimeo as a purveyor of online video that's more Netflix and less YouTube. In celebration of its first 12 months of existence, Vimeo's making some improvements to the on demand portal's interface and announcing plans to help fund digital filmmakers.

First off, joining the standard comedy, documentary, animation, etc. content categories, the site now has curated collections of videos that share common themes to help users discover new videos. And, there's a new UI, inspired by brick-and-mortar stores with "well-designed shelves," that really just makes Vimeo On Demand look more like Netflix on the web -- users get rows of content categories that each scroll horizontally to show more videos within them. Vimeo's also rolling out a My Library feature for users that keeps track of all the videos you watch, rent and buy in one place, too.

As for the folks actually making all those videos on demand? Vimeo needs them shooting quality movies, which is why its new Audience Development Program was created to distribute $10 million to digital auteurs with "distribution-ready titles." In plain english, that means you must've raised more than $10,000 for your project on Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Seed & Spark, or have premiered it at a select list of film festivals in 2014 -- they aren't giving the cash away to just anybody, folks. Additionally, should your film qualify, you can look forward to marketing and promotional support from Vimeo, too. Think your next project could benefit from Vimeo's generosity? You can apply right here.