If you are wondering how to sell your movie on iTunes, there have never been a better time. Gone are the days when you need to ask for permission to access iTunes. If you’re ready to sell your movie on iTunes, I have detailed three steps below. Ready to get started?
How To Sell Your Movie On iTunes (In Three Steps!)
Step 1 – Watch Out For These Distributor Shenanigans
If you’ve spent time in the festival circuit, invariably some acquisitions executive has approached you offering to “pick up” your feature. If this is your first feature, congratulations. You just heard the exact same pitch 99% of every filmmaker (with a solid movie) hears.
Why is this happening? I mean, why are more filmmakers getting offers?
Simple. Video on demand is not a physical product. Nobody has to invest money for manufacturing, shipping or physical inventory. As a result, video on demand represents almost no inherent risk for a distributor or an aggregator. (There are encoding and closed caption fees, which I’ll discuss later. But most times these are simply passed to the filmmaker too.)
Also, I want to make it very clear. There are some especially good distributors out there – But odds are good they are focused on grabbing star driven, studio content. So that means you’re going to spend a lot of time chatting with mid-level distributors who promise you “special placement” on iTunes.
The problem is, there is no guarantee that any aggregator can get you special placement on iTunes. It’s a limited web page. And most BIG titles take up all the space. So my suggestion is this. Evaluate every offer. But look for the similar pitch. I guarantee you’ll hear the words “special placement” over and over…
Step 2 – Prep Your Movie For iTunes
If you decide to sell your movie on iTunes without the assistance of a traditional aggregator, you will still need to utilize the services of an iTunes approved aggregator (or a sub aggregagor who works with an iTunes approved aggregator) and an iTunes approved encoding house. There is simply no way around this. iTunes will not do business with individual filmmakers.
But just because you are forced to utilize a middle-man does not mean you need to sign over a percentage of your movie. A few years ago I worked as the director of operations for Distribber and I loved it. (Note: Distribber pays me to promote, so I’m biased. But if you follow the links on this page, you’ll also get a discount on the service.)
Distribber serves a distribution consulting company. They hold your hand through the process of getting your movie from your hard drive into iTunes. And thankfully so. Here are the current iTunes deliverables (as referenced by the Distribber website.)
For a High Definition iTunes Delivery:
- Closed Captions
- File: Pro Res 422 HQ
- 1920 × 1080
- Native Frame Rate
- Film: 23.98
- Audio: Must have 8 channels of audio, or if not shot with 5.1 then you may submit in Stereo:
- 5.1 – L, R, C, LFE, Ls, Rs / PCM Little Endian / Each audio channel needs to be its own track Ch. 7 stereo left, Ch. 8 stereo right / PCM Little Endian / Each audio channel needs to be its own track
Distribber operates on an upfront payment model. They either get your movie onto iTunes or they refund your money minus a servicing charge. You can find out more about the Distribber service here.
Step 3 – Promote Your Movie (Build a List)
Getting your movie on iTunes does not guarantee sales. And unless you take time to plan out a marketing and distribution strategy that makes sense for your movie, your odds of a marketing miracle happening are diminished. So the first step of marketing your movie involves defining your hook.
After that, do a Google search for blogs and websites that cater to your target audience. From there, your next step is reach out to 50 blogs and websites that cater to your target audience. Make an introduction. See if the website editors would be interested in reviewing your movie.
The bottom line is, you shouldn’t wait for some sort of middle-man sales agent to give you permission to sell your movie on iTunes. If you’d like more detailed info on how to market and sell your movie, check out my resource at How To Sell Your Movie.