Today’s question comes from a filmmaker who is puzzled over how to sell his movie online.
Since the world of video on demand distribution is changing the ways in which movies are seen and sold, having a solid distribution strategy that you can implement is essential for success. And selling your movie online is going to be a big part of your strategy.
Question: When deciding on how to sell your movie, what are the advantages to DVD, On Demand and Video Downloads?
Response: Congratulations on realizing that the world in which movies are seen in selling is changing fast. When you are ready to sell your movie, the first thing you have to decide is whether or not you want to hold out for a dream distribution deal.
Selling Your Movie Online
After helping over 100 filmmakers get their movies to market, I can tell you most filmmakers wait for a dream distribution deal. And as a result, the typical time between film festivals and selling your movie online takes 5-7 months!
This is because many distributors and sales agents come out of the woodwork and tell you that your gazillion dollar check is right around the corner – So you better sit around and do nothing!
I don’t agree.
In fact, I personally think this “wait and see” philosophy is hogwash.
And here’s why. After waiting months and months, many of these traditional distributors circle back and with some sort of strategy for selling your movie online… A strategy that you could have executed yourself.
“We are going to get you onto Amazon and iTunes. And we will try to get you special placement.”
Take Your Movie To Market
If you’re ready to take your own movie to market, I have good news. The market is accessible. And in my opinion the easiest market to access is also one of the largest in the world. If you go to CreateSpace (they pay me to promote) you can get your movie onto Amazon.
Simply sign up for a free account. From there you will decide if you want to sell your movie as a video-on-demand rental, video-on-demand download, DVD, or combination of all three. You will then enter information about your movie and upload artwork.
When complete you will be given a title ID that you will use to label a simple autoplay DVD that you will send to Amazon. In roughly 2 months your movie will be available within the Amazon marketplace.
The only challenge with CreateSpace is – While the service is pretty straight forward, they aren’t set up to deliver high definition. To do this, you will need to go through an aggregator with a direct relationship at Amazon.
Find A Video On Demand Aggregator
In addition to Amazon, there are many other marketplaces for selling your movie online. My bias leans towards iTunes, Hulu, some web based transactional players and possibly cable video on demand.
To access these marketplaces you will you need to utilize a video on demand aggregator. Your aggregator will then send you a list of the appropriate deliverable specifications.
The aggregator typically works with an encoding house. And the encoders are looking for an uncompressed video file, high-resolution artwork and selling points they can utilized to make the pitch to the various platforms.
Depending on the marketplaces you choose, it could take anywhere from three to six months to see your title live.
The reason for this oftentimes has more to do with technical challenges than your content. When it comes to selling your movie online, many of the platforms are very strict about the quality of the viewer’s experience. And if even one frame does not match specification, the encoding house will have to pull your content for repairs.
This creates significant delays.
Execute A Movie Marketing Strategy
Assuming you go the distance and get your movie into the various marketplaces as both DVD On Demand and Video Downloads you will still need to implement a marketing strategy. Your goal is to use your movie website as a hub.
You will work both online and offline to drive targeted traffic to your site, and then funnel that traffic towards a desired point-of-sale, such as Amazon, Hulu or iTunes. Additionally, you may choose to also include an embeddable player right on your movie’s website.
At times selling your movie online can seem like a whole bunch of confusion. If that’s how you feel, you may want to download my sell your movie checklist. In it, you’ll get a more detailed overview of modern film distribution.