Independent Movie Distributors are great if they offer you a deal. The problem is, many filmmakers do not get a great deal. Instead, many filmmakers end up with a lot of empty promises.
Now, thanks in part to a shrinking DVD market, many traditional distributors have shifted focus to partner with, or become a movie aggregator. For those of you new to the concept, a movie aggregator exists to source a whole bunch of movies, and then serves as a middle-man between YOU and the marketplace.
The result of this DVD to VOD distribution transition has created a new sales pitch for filmmakers:
“Give us your VOD rights for a gazillion years and we’ll get your title onto iTunes.”
If you’re like a lot of filmmakers, this pitch is all you need to hand over your VOD rights for many years. The result of which allows you to tell all your friends: “Our movie was picked up by [insert bottom feeding aggregator here] and now we are on iTunes.”
Any time I hear this, I want to PUKE.
Why? Because treating VOD distribution like DVD distribution is the difference between lighting and lighting bug (I think that is a quote from Mark Twain.) But you get my point. It can’t be treated the same.
WHY DO I SAY THIS?
I say this because many traditional DVD distributors will add NO VALUE to your VOD strategy.
They will simply get your movie into the marketplace and suck your profits for the extent of your contract. And since most traditional distributors can not monopolize the VOD marketplace (like retail DVD), they will grab any title they can and hope for the best.
Think about it. It doesn’t cost them anything. All they gotta do is get your movie encoded and uploaded into the market – and if it makes money, they make money. If it doesn’t make money – OH WELL!
Like I said. That makes me PUKE.
You see. The problem isn’t your ability to access a VOD marketplace. Your problem is SOURCING an audience. In retail DVD distribution, it was different. Retail DVD was a predictable sales channel. In the old days, you licensed your retail DVD rights to a distributor. Then your distributor made a few phone calls and got your movie into video stores. People drove to video stores and walked around the store. So if your DVD was on the shelf, your odds of making money increased.
But with VOD? We are talking about people sitting in front of their computers. The marketplace changes at the click of a mouse.
So far, we know that iTunes, NetFlix and Amazon are popular. You should get your movie into those marketplaces. But that doesn’t mean you should give up your VOD rights to get there.
The secret that traditional DVD distributors don’t want you to know is this: Getting into the marketplace is easy.
The TOUGH part is getting people to watch (and buy) your movie. For that I recommend The Indie Producer’s Guide To Digitial Distribution or at the very least, read some of my other articles on movie marketing and distribution.
And if you’re just getting to know me, make sure you grab a FREE copy of my filmmaking book. Click Here >>
In a future article, I’m going to show you how to leverage VOD distribution for your business plans. Stay tuned.