MOVIE SELF DISTRIBUTION: 13 On-Demand Platforms (Subscription #4 & Aggregator #16 are my faves)
by Dov S-S Simens on December 15, 2015
MOVIE SELF DISTRIBUTION (DIY: Do-It-Yourself…with a Platform & an Aggregator)
The Hollywood saying is “Producers get F*cked. Distributors do the F*cking”… and the key to profits lies in being at the top of the money-chain and controlling content… and today, with Video On-Demand viability, it is easy to control content and be in second position (normal Theatrical Distribution has the creator, after exhibitor/distributor/expenses/fees in fifth position) to directly receive revenue shares (splits) to make profits.
For this filmmaking post I am merely listing the 4 types of On-Demand Platforms (TOD, SOD, AOD & Travelling), with 13 specific companies, and also list the 4 major aggregators needed to access these platforms.
I will not be dispensing how-to info for it is up to you, once I give the list, to google/research and discern the direct on-demand distribution costs and a strategy.
Plus, no one can truly give On-Demand how-to info for (A) it is a totally new revenue stream with (B) truly no one knowing anything… Now, maybe you will stumble on the formula that works. Become the On-Demand pro and for the rest of your life share your pearls of wisdom on panels at Cannes, Sundance, Variety Summits & AFM.
But always remember “the key, however, once you select a platform or two, is how do you drive traffic and “eyeballs”” to your film. Hollywood is still much more a marketing industry rather than a filmmaking industry even when it comes to the digital distribution world.
Now on to the 4 OD Platforms, 13 Companies & 4 Aggregators.
4 VOD PLATFORM CATEGORIES
The three precise types of On-Demand platforms are…
(ONE) TRANSACTIONAL VOD: (you pay to view)
(TWO) SUBSCRIPTION VOD: (you subscribe to view)
(THREE) AD SUPPORT VOD: (you watch ads to view)
(FOUR) TRAVELLING VOD (you imbed logos to view)
11 ON-DEMAND COMPANIES
Below are eleven of the most relevant On-demand platforms with details on Splits, Costs and Viewrships.
(1) iTunes (Transactional On-Demand): 800 million users. 85,000 Movie Titles. $2,000 Cost (Proprietary Encoding). Revenues split 30% iTunes & 70% Creator
(2) Amazon Instant Prime (Transactional On-Demand): Its hundreds of millions of users are accustomed to buying bot renting. Need an Aggregator to access. Amazon sets price. Split 50%-50%. Amazon also charges $0.10 for every stream. Views are limited to only USA.
(3) Google Play (Transactional On-Demand): It’s the Google world & your movie gets integrating into all its services. Google gives musicians 100% access & 55% of revenues. For filmmakers to access Google On-Demand you need an Aggregator.
(4) Netflix (Subscription On-Demand): 69 Million users. Remember Apple (iTunes has 800 Million users. Aggregators are absolutely required to access. Netflix is still the king as it grows & creates original “DAY-N-DATE” programming.
(5) Fandor (Subscription On-Demand): No set-up fees. It is device friendly. Plus, filmmakers can host on other platforms simultaneously. Promote they split 50-50 with creators but split based on viewership, time watched and gross receipts… very confusing.
(6) MUBI (Subscription On-Demand): Global is key for it is in 200 countries. UK based with foundation programming deals made for 30,000 hours of programming from Warners & Sony. Split is 50-50 with creators, More arthouse product. Users get 30-day window to view per film.
(7) HULU (Ad-Support or Subscription On-Demand): Hulu has a company called Hulu+ that is subscription. Hulu is Ad-Support. It requires an Aggregator to access. Big in USA & Japan.
(8) YouTUBE (Ad-Support On-Demand): Has “AdSense payments” via it’s “Partner Program”. You need 1,000 subscribers to access. No set-up fees. Has a “Creator Academy”. Problem is viewers expect YouTube videos (happy dogs & grumpy cats) to be free.
(9) Gumroad (Travelling On-Demand): You must drive traffic. Perfect for sell-through. Payments via PayPal. You keep 95% minus $0.25 per transaction. You can do multi-pricing and multi-unit (book, film & blog) sales
(10) Pivotshare (Travelling On-Demand): Geared to filmmakers creating networks rather than single films. Split 70% Creator. 30% Pivotshare. No set-up costs and viewers can chose to either (A) Rent, (B) Purchase, (C) Subscribe or (D) Tip. Can not use PayPal.
(11) Reelhouse (Travelling On-Demand): This is a Sundance vehicle. Split is 90% Creator, 10% Reelhouse plus $0.50/transaction. Payment options range from (A) Free to (B) Pay-what-you-want. Payment through Paypal, Bitcoin or Stripe.
(On-Demand information as well as Pay-Per-View, Product Placement, Government Programs, Pre-Sell Windows, Merchandising Dollars, Distribution Deals, etc. are all detailed in my “DVD Film School”)
AGGREGATORS & MISCELLANEOUS ON-DEMAND PLATFORMS
(12) VIMEO ON DEMAND (Miscellaneous On-Demand): Recently commenced paywalls for On-Demand. Split is 10% Vimeo & 90% Creator. Key, however, is their non-monitorable Transaction Fees (Beast is in the details) Big internationally. Must create a $199 Vimeo Pro account. Creators/Filmmakers paid through Paypal. 20GB of upload space then come the Transaction Fees.
(13) VHX (Miscellaneous On-Demand): Fee is 10% plus $0.50 per transaction. No set-up fees. Publishes daily stats. Also, big internationally. Has many bonus features for Gifting, Coupons & Flash Sales.
(14) DISTRIBBER (Aggregator): Owned by GoDigital Inc. Aggregators are On-Demand Platform middlemen for access. Charges Fees to access Platforms. i.e. $1,560 for iTunes. $1,175 for Amazon. $995 for Hulu. $1,395 for Redbox. $2,250 for Netflix and $7,000 for cable VOD.
(15) QUIVER DIGITAL (Aggregator) Upfront fees only $950 per feature and $400 per short. Seed & Spark the crowdfund platform uses Quiver to access Amazon, Dish, Google Play, iN Demand, iTunes, Microsoft, Netflix, Nook, Sony Entertainment.
(16) THE ORCHARD (Aggregator): Owned by Sony Music; started with music On-Demand. It appears to be the New & Hip On-Demand Network for it bought rights to 5 Sundance Films at the 2015 Festival.
(17) FilmBuff (Aggregator): Submit on it’s website. If they like you (?), they get back to you & get your film access. They work with Amazon Instant, CinemaNow, iTunes, Movies On-Demand, PlayStation Network, Vudu, YouTube, Xbox360 and, if you desire, they will (for a fee) handle marketing, encoding and finances.
Distribution, for filmmakers, is no longer pay for 2-4 Film Festivals for marketing & exposure in hopes that you capture the eye of an Acquisition Executive who offers you a 50-50 Net Deal for North American Distribution…where 18 months later you’ve discovered that you haven’t yet seen a penny and can not afford to pay an auditor to audit, even if you could find the “books”, and then definitely can’t pay an attorney to litigate and enforce the distribution deal.
Now, with On-Demand Platforms, and affordable Aggregators, you can detour theaters and go directly to the consumer on his at-home viewing platform and keep a majority of the revenues… the key is still how do you market & use Social Media to drive “the eyeballs” to the platforms that your Aggregator has placed you.
Welcome to Hollywood
For more details about On-Demand go to MovieMaker Magazine (www.MovieMaker.com) and view their “MovieMaker’s 4th Annual Guide to Digital Distribution” written this year by Erin Trahan (November 17, 2015) and titled “A GAME OF THRONES”.
QUESTIONS & COMMENTS
First have you made a film and screened at a Film Festival?
Second did you get any Theatrical Distribution offers?
If so, what were they?
If not, did you get any On-Demand Offers?
If so, what were they?
If not, now with this article will you DIY with or without an Aggregator?
Happy Filmmaking & See You at the “2-Day Film School” (LA, April 23-24, 2016 or September 17-18, 2016).
Dov Simens / Dean / Hollywood Film Institute
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15 comments on “MOVIE SELF DISTRIBUTION: 13 On-Demand Platforms (Subscription #4 & Aggregator #16 are my faves)”
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You are truly the master of filmmakers! always very informative and to the point. Thank you so much.
Great post. Short, informative and to the point. Inspiring! Thanks for your generosity…
This post is great but im still new at this so im gonna ask a stupid question; what are aggregators?
There’s noticeably a pack to learn about this.
I suppose you made certain good points in features also.
Social media mainly addresses activities involving personal sharing of content, movies, and images for marketing and advertising reasons.
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Quiver review. Used them, suck badly, technology and even site and dashboard locks up and creeps as slowly as the staff and ‘customer support’ which you can’t even call it that. Emails just get tossed into a bucket for ‘someone’ to answer which is always days and you get different answers from different people and the bigger joke is it doesn’t match what they say on their site. They do make huge profits off your hard work and dreams of digital revenue, like charging $900 for captioning that you can get for $73 by other vendors that caption for Technicolor, and national network shows.
They try to rip you for everything and plain don’t give a crap about you and are too scared to get on the phone or answer detailed questions not just about tech but sales and marketing and info and processes of their – I hesitate to say ‘partners’ – iTunes, Amazon, Netflix etc. Suspect they just don’t want to expose that they really don’t know so many things that would be extremely helpful and often necessary for the filmmaker/producer customers.
They are owned by Premiere Digital which is an expensive post house in LA that logically bought or merged with them so they can get all the encoding money to prep your project for digital delivery to iTunes etc., and get your money they do. For work that does include India according to employees and google corporate info.
No surprise to see this quote from an employee on GlassdoorDotcom “Told by management in LA that Independent accounts were a priority but when pressing a team leader he was told to ignore our titles” (yes that means your film you’re paying them so much to handle) and that they have a “horrible client service ideology” hah so true, and that’s from an employee, not even a pissed off customer. Could only laugh when I read that in all the employee complaints about the company and “inexperienced execs.”
I’ve been a client at many small and major post and encoding houses for years and also dealt directly, not via Quiver or other aggregator, with iTunes, Netflix etc delivering indie and studio titles and can with no hesitation say Quiver sucks badly, doesn’t care, pays no attention to detail (which ends up costing you more precious time and money) so if you want to waste time and money, give ’em a call!
I wholeheartedly believe all the rest of the bad experiences strewn around the internet. Good luck to all trying to find what you deserve for what we pay.
Who would you use? I did hear from another Producer that Quiver was slow and she had to stay on them but overall she liked them. I am considering Quiver for my movie. I heard Distribber sucks too but haven’t talked to anyone personally about them. DeadSexyMovie@Gmail.com
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DO NOT USE QUIVER DIGITAL!
I used Quiver Digital, and it was the biggest mistake I have ever made in my entire life. They are PREDATORS, and they DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU.
So, my story. Last year (2019) in May, I researched different online aggregators, and also contacted some of them. Quiver Digital was one of them, they had a good deal, and they were very communicative, so I decided for them, which seemed great…
…until I paid 2.500 Dollars.
I paid for my film to be on Amazon, Google Play and Itunes.
After I paid the fee, the initial date for my film to be on the platforms was around October. October came around and it was said some time in November. I started emailing them at the end of November, but nothing happened. Between November 2019 and April 2020 I emailed them around 30 times, and I got 2 answers, with a standard email saying my files are finalized.
They are horrible, they do not care, they made me blow my marketing budget for nothing.
Furthermore, they made me get my film age rated by german authorities (this cost 500 Euros), which they said has to be done for Amazon. Turns out it doesn’t!
They paid me back my money in April, after a long and painful waste of my time, energy and money.
Now I am trying out the process with filmhub, and it seems like a good choice so far, especially with 0 Dollars upfront cost.
Stay safe out there Indie FilmMakers.
DO NOT USE QUIVER.