In the world of indie filmmaking, it sure seems like NetFlix has become the holy grail. And the main rite of passage for many filmmakers is to sell a movie to Netflix.
But you may want to rethink that notion.
After working with several other filmmakers on their distribution strategy, I really DO NOT think NetFlix offers the indie filmmakers the most viable option for distribution. Here’s why:
For starters, in order to get your movie into Netflix, you must first get into their database.
How do you get into the NetFlix database?
This is the secret sauce. But having personal relationships with the acquisitions folks, great queue demand and an awesome movie can be beneficial. The bottom line is, NetFlix is very discriminatory about what movies get into their database.
What does NetFlix pay for film acquisitions?
If you are fortunate enough to get your title into the NetFlix database, you still need a gazillion people to ask for your movie in their Netflix queue. This will influence the actual amount of money NetFlix will offer you. For some filmmakers, I have heard numbers around the $1,300 range. (I wish I was kidding.)
From a business perspective, I think what they are doing is genius. NetFlix is able to predict demand and also acquire movies for minimal dollars. But from a filmmaking perspective, I think there are better solutions.
Final thoughts on getting your movie into NetFlix.
While it may be cool to have your movie available in NetFlix, the unappetizing deals they offer are just hard to stomach. Some of my filmmaker friends argue that getting into NetFlix is good because having your movie there will promote word of mouth. To that, I usually respond that piracy is also good for word of mouth.
And it involves a lot less headaches.
If are you looking to get your movie seen and selling, you might be better off to stick with a transactional platform and then drive targeted traffic to your point of sale. Check out the Independent Producer’s Guide To Digital Distribution to find out more.