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Vimeo steps up original content efforts with ‘The Outs,’ ‘Darby’ and ‘Rolodex’

Vimeo had a surprise hit when its pot-delivery comedy “High Maintenance” went viral, giving a boost to the site. Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, creators of the show "High Maintenance," are pictured.

Vimeo had a surprise hit when its pot-delivery comedy “High Maintenance” went viral, giving a boost to the site. Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, creators of the show “High Maintenance,” are pictured.

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Vimeo is stepping up its new-programming efforts, announcing what it dubs as its “first ever slate of original programming.”

The site has said it has made deals for three new pieces of content and will debut them this winter. They are: the latest season of the online hit gay comedy “The Outs,” written by Adam Goldman and Sasha Winters; a short film titled “Darby Forever” written by and starring “SNL” veteran Aidy Bryant; and “Rolodex of Hate Comedy Special,” a new standup one-off from comedian Bianca Del Rio.

Launched primarily as a secure viewing platform for filmmakers and industry types, Vimeo has been looking to amp up its original efforts in the last year. The company, a division of IAC, is a latecomer to the game that already features more established players such as Netflix and Amazon. But it hopes to lure creators with more favorable revenue splits, and audiences with novel lower-budget programming.

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“This new slate of Vimeo originals exemplifies the fresh, unique voices of Vimeo creators who are propelling online storytelling and entertainment to new levels of quality,“ said Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor. “Vimeo empowers today’s brightest talent to develop their best work, with total creative freedom, and bring it directly to Vimeo’s worldwide audience.”

“The Outs” will mark a second season in Vimeo of the Goldman-created show, following a group of young gay men and their friends three years after the first season left off. “Darby,” meanwhile, co-stars Natasha Lyonne and centers on a woman (Bryant) who works at a mysterious boutique store. Episodes of those two shows and “Rolodex” will each be available via Vimeo’s on-demand platform for a fee; the company says it has not yet set prices.

Vimeo execs have been heading to global markets to scout for new talent and development projects as well as make deals for finished independent productions, as it did at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

The company had a surprise hit when its pot-delivery comedy “High Maintenance” went viral, giving a boost to the site. HBO subsequently picked up the show for its own platform.

Vimeo is developing a specialty in more offbeat and countercultural fare: Del Rio, for instance, is an insult comedian and drag queen who won on a season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Twitter: @ZeitchikLAT

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