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IAC shines spotlight on video streaming service Vimeo

By Jennifer Saba

(Reuters) - As one of the media properties tucked away within IAC/Interactive Corp's vast group of online holdings, executives are putting the spotlight on Vimeo, breaking out the number of users and revenue for the first time.

IAC revealed that Vimeo has an audience of more than 100 million unique users, 400,000 paying subscribers and about $40 million in revenue over the past 12 months ending October.

"We have a number of assets that could live on their own," said IAC Chief Executive Greg Blatt. "Vimeo, we believe, is an asset that will reach that status."

As a video web site, Vimeo competes with Google's YouTube and other streaming video services though it is known for attracting a niche audience of creative professionals.

Founded in 2004 by a group of filmmakers under media mogul Barry Diller's IAC, Vimeo has been grouped with company's other media properties such as Ben Silverman's Electus production studio.

Anyone can post content to Vimeo's platform or watch it for free, but the company charges $60 or $200 a year for more comprehensive editing tools depending on the package.

"We have begun to turn our attention to how do we build a business around the viewers," said Kerry Trainor, Vimeo's chief executive officer.

Part of that strategy is giving Vimeo subscribers a way to charge for their own content. Vimeo takes a 10 percent cut of the revenue.

"Vimeo has proven there is an entire world of really high quality content out there, just as YouTube showed the power of broadcasting," Trainor said.

Vimeo hired News Corp executive vice president Greg Clayman in October to grow Vimeo's audience by building partnerships with content creators.

IAC also houses a collection of search and dating sites such as Ask.com and Match.com, which represent a majority of the company's revenue and operating income.

In recent quarters, IAC's search business - its largest - has been slowing. It is turning to other revenue sources such as video to keeps its growth streak alive.

Jason Helfstein, a research managing director at Oppenheimer & Co, estimates that Vimeo's average valuation at the mid-point is about $500 million.

"It has been one of IAC's most successful startups," he said.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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