Streaming Movies is OK If…

The other week I went on a minor rant about filmmakers hellbent on streaming movies from their movie website. And after some very thoughtful feedback, the truth is (as much as I hate admitting this) I realized I may have made an error.

In my article, I mentioned that most customers will feel more comfortable watching movies on established platforms, such as Hulu, iTunes, Amazon and NetFlix. At the same time, I totally discounted filmmakers presently testing ways to stream from their sites. And as any great marketer knows, ALL marketing decisions (assuming they make financial sense) have to be tested.

What works with one movie, may not work with every movie.

With that said, a lot of filmmakers (who do not have website traffic) are being fed the idea that “content enablers” will magically source an audience. They will not. So if your website does not have a lot of visitors, before you worry about where to stream your movie, I suggest you work on increasing your traffic as well as building your audience list. Then later, when you reach mass, you can focus on directing folks into your sales funnel.

The other tip is this: DO NOT stream a movie from your own hosting company server. That is silly. Let someone else handle the bandwidth and content delivery issues. Here are two resources for selling your movie (both of which are affiliates and pay me to promote – so research each before you make any purchase):

Distribber. They help you get your movie onto iTunes and other popular marketplaces.

Again – while both of these companies provide great services for filmmakers, it is important that you remember the major, key aspect of the brave new world of modern moviemaking – Regardless of platform – YOU are responsible for sourcing your own audience. Don’t forget that!

To help you out, I have created a step-by-step guide called the independent producer’s guide to digital distribution. If you need help driving targeted traffic to your website and selling your movie through VOD marketplaces, the guide offers some tips.

Independent Movie Distributors are Aggregators

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.

Movie Sales Funnel | Sell Your Movie PT 4

Layers of a typical sales funnel.

Image via Wikipedia

Filmmaking is changing. Like it or not, if you want to make a living making movies, you need to learn about the business side of independent movie making. And if this is your first time on filmmaking stuff, you are reading step 4 of a 7 part series on How To Sell Your Movie On iTunes, Amazon and Netflix For Maximum Profit.

So picking up where we left off, once you have sharpened your hook and targeted your target audience, and set up shop in the popular VOD marketplaces, your next step is to create a movie sales funnel.

Step 4 of 7 – Create Your Movie Sales Funnel

To set up an internet movie sales funnel, you will have to modify your website to funnel all traffic towards a sale. This can be achieved easily by removing all the potentially distracting content from your site including production photos, press kits and actor bios. Once removed, further emphasis should be placed on your trailer, your about page, and most importantly, your “buy now” buttons.

Most of your visitors will exit your website and never return. So to increase your odds of converting these visitors into paying customers, you will want to create ways to capture visitor contact information. One easy way is by creating a Facebook page for your movie and then placing a Facebook link on your site. This way, once your visitor joins your movie’s Facebook community, the added social proof of like-minded fans touting the joys of your movie may increase your sales. This goes for Twitter and other social networking communities too.

But because many social networking sites run the risk of going out of vogue, you will want to migrate your fans off the social networks and get them into your own mailing list. For this, I recommend using a third-party email marketing service such as Aweber.  Aweber provides ease of service. As soon as you sign up for one of their inexpensive accounts, you can easily create a way for your fans to connect with you. For example, if you would like over $47 dollars in FREE filmmaking tools simply enter your info into my Awber opt in box below.


If you just signed up, you will get an email. You will need to first, confirm your subscription. After you confirmed, you probably noticed how you were redirected to a “Thank You Page.” And on that page you were able to download all sorts of premium filmmaking tools, for free.

This is called permission based marketing. Because I have built some trust with you, you decided to give me permission to send you useful filmmaking information. While I am obviously utilizing list-building to create a more meaningful relationship with filmmakers (and YOU), this model can be (and should be) applied to your own movie business. But instead of giving away filmmaking books and audio courses, you might consider allowing your prospective movie audience to download a free movie soundtrack.

The reason why I stress Audience List Building so much in my Filmmaking model is because no matter what happens in distribution, the size of your targeted audience list  (a community of people who know you and your work) – this will determine your rate of success over your long-term career. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Three Tips for building your Audience List:

  1. From now on, as soon as you have a website, start buiding your list.
  2. Put your website on your business card.
  3. Collect names and email addresses at film festivals.

Companies like Aweber allow you to manage your email communication with thousands of fans. And since reputable email companies have good relationships with internet service providers, the odds of your movie newsletter ending up in spam folders is decreased.

[box style=”notice”] For more information on how to market and sell your movie, visit www.HowToSellYourMovie.com[/box]

The VOD Market | Sell Your Movie PT 3

Given the changes in distribution, as a filmmaker, getting your movie seen and selling is no longer solely the responsibly of a 3rd party distributor. Once you have sharpened your hook and targeted your target audience, your next step is to set up shop in some of the many popular internet based marketplaces.

The Video On Demand Market

Your next step is to determine the appropriate video on demand marketplace for your movie. There are many options for this, including setting up your own internet storefront, joining other filmmakers on a platform or setting up shop in popular Video On Demand marketplaces. Since most VOD outlets do not require an exclusive deal, I recommend getting your movie selling in multiple markets, including iTunes and Amazon.

To do this, you have two options. You can approach each platform individually or you can work through a traditional distributor or a video aggregor. There are pros and cons to each movie distribution approach.

With a traditional distributor, you would only want to sign over your movie if the deal makes more sense than distributing your movie yourself. What makes a good deal? This is really up to you. But the metrics to look for are transparent marketing spends, the distributor’s ability to get you preferred placement in the platforms – and of course, a great track record.

If you go it alone, you will need to perform a lot of the heavy lifting yourself. You may have to pay upfront for encoding fees, Errors and Omissions Insurance and Closed Captioning to name a few.  Later, when your title goes live, you will need to monitor your sales across all platforms.

For more information on how to market and sell your movie, visit www.HowToSellYourMovie.com

Is Traditional Movie Distribution Dead?

If you are subscribed to the filmmaking stuff podcast, you probably already know my thoughts on movie distribution. In a few years VOD will be the primary method by which movies will be seen and sold.

With this belief, there will come a day when there is no delineation between your TV and the internet – which means you’ll be able to upload your feature into popular marketplaces with the ease of uploading a movie to YouTube.

With each passing day, your ability to tune into the iTunes, Amazon or Netflix on-demand channel on your TV is increasing in popularity. Science fiction has become science fact sooner than we ever thought possible.

These innovations, no matter how subtle, will put the last nail in the coffin for traditional distribution.

So we may as well get ready for the new world of distribution right now…

Is Traditional Movie Distribution Dead?

Even now, traditional DVD distribution is deteriorating. And with the rise of VOD marketplaces, old-timers are trying like crazy to make sure that traditional, global territories remain safeguarded by pre-existing, DVD territorial bounds.

The problem with trying to fit  VOD into the same “box” as DVD is simple. Video on demand marketplaces are bound by the internet, which doesn’t have boundaries.  This is potentially bad for traditional distribution. But it’s great for modern moviemakers. Why?

You no longer have to worry about preserving the old ways of doing things, including asking some 3rd party to give you permission to sell your movie.

With all these changes in distribution, as a filmmaker, getting you movie seen and selling is still one of the biggest challenges you face.

That’s why I created my latest product: How To Sell Your Movie. This step-by-step action guide shows you how to market and sell your movie in popular marketplaces such as Amazon and iTunes. Additionally, I show you how I lost around $100,000 dollars with our first feature and how you can avoid my mistakes.

While creating community around your title, building buzz and increasing your fan base is both challenging and fun, a lot of filmmakers have no idea how to get started. In this regard, one of your first steps is to determine if your movie is ready for the marketplace.

Do you have all your paperwork and errors and omissions insurance? Are you ready to get your movie seen and potentially selling? If you have a movie collecting dust on some bookshelf, and the title is currently not selling, listen up:

If you are seeking movie distribution, check out www.MovieSalesTool.com