As part of the ongoing rebranding effort colloquially known as “we have more than just student films, you guys,” Vimeo announced today that it has purchased the streaming rights to 80 classic episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. This isn’t news in and of itself, considering these are the same 80 MST3K episodes that were already available for purchase on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Instant Video (and Vudu, for people who just have to be different). 25 of those 80 episodes are currently streaming on Hulu, and 15 of them are on Netflix.
So why should MST3K fans be interested in Vimeo’s offer, especially at the positively Amazon-esque price of $2.99 for a rental and $9.99 to purchase each individual episode? They shouldn’t—at least not yet. See, Vimeo has also secured exclusive streaming rights to the MST3K episodes that aren’t already available; due to the complicated nature of securing rights to a show that has entire feature films embedded within it, less than half of all extant MST3K episodes are currently on streaming services. However, Vimeo says it is actively working on disentangling the rest of the MST3K back catalog and plans on having a dozen more episodes available within the year. And if that’s too long of a wait, all 198 original MST3K episodes are currently available on lovingly hand-dubbed VHS from that guy in IT whose shirt is never, ever completely tucked in.