Maker Studios, the Walt Disney Co.-owned multichannel network, is set to produce exclusive content for Vimeo.

The partnership with the online video platform is not intended to move the Culver City network off YouTube though, according to a source, who said the deal is an “experiment” and that the Vimeo competitor will still be Maker’s primary partner.

The deal, announced Thursday, is designed to put Vimeo funding behind some of Maker’s smaller creators to produce original programming for Vimeo On Demand, a self-distribution platform that lets creators sell ad-free videos. Vimeo, an InterActivCorp unit based in New York, will also make its platform service available to all of Maker’s 55,000 creators. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“Maker is always excited to create original programs that reach audiences across platforms,” Courtney Holt, Maker’s chief strategy officer, said in a statement. “Vimeo will be a great partner to distribute new ideas.”

The collaboration is still in very early stages, and no creators have signed on yet. Videos made for Vimeo could still find their way to YouTube, though it’s unclear how soon after their original posts. The partnership will last through the end of the year.

Content creators and multichannel networks rely almost exclusively on YouTube’s free-to-watch platform to distribute their videos. But the Google video site’s ad split – 45 percent of the revenue goes to YouTube, the rest is shared between creators and their MCNs – has made some talent start to look elsewhere.

The deal could bring new eyeballs to Vimeo, which has less than a fifth of YouTube’s 1 billion monthly viewers. Vimeo touts itself as a creator-friendly platform, one on which creators charge viewers who want to see the ad-free videos. The creators set the rate, and Vimeo takes a 10 percent cut of the revenue.

“We’re excited to welcome Maker’s incredible community of creators to the Vimeo On Demand platform, allowing them to bring their content to new audiences and earn more revenue through direct VOD sales,” Vimeo Chief Executive Kerry Trainor said in a statement.

Staff reporter Melissah Yang can be reached at MYang@labusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @MelissahYang for the latest in L.A. tech news.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.