Sell A Movie To Netflix

The world of indie filmmaking is abuzz with folks wanting to sell a movie to Netflix. And this is for good reason. With over 30 million subscribers, getting your movie into the platform would represent exposure. As a result, many filmmakers have been leaving messages at my office like this:

I want to sell a movie to Netflix! I just want you to know that I don’t care about money. In fact, if I can’t sell a movie to Netflix, I’d be happy to put my movie on Netflix for free.

If you’re having similar thoughts, you may want to rethink a few things. While the opportunity for exposure feels enticing, accepting a silly deal doesn’t pay the bills or pay back your investors.

Sell a Movie to Netflix

Unlike many VOD platforms, the majority of Netflix deals still happen the traditional way. A filmmaker finds a distributor. The distributor negotiates a deal with Netflix. And then the filmmaker gets paid a licensing fee upfront.

If you decide to tackle Netflix distribution yourself, you’re going to jump through a series of hoops. To start, you must first get into their database.

Sell a Movie To NetFlix

How do you get into the Netflix database?

This is the secret sauce. Netflix decides what movies get into their database. And short of knowing somebody on the inside, there isn’t much you can do to change this. So at the very least, you better have an awesome movie that appeals to a large segment of the Netflix subscriber base. Beyond that, it helps if you can drum up tons of publicity.

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 request your movie in their Netflix queue. This is called queue demand. And this metric will influence the actual amount of money Netflix will offer you. If you want to score a big deal, your movie better have a lot of demand.

Should You Try To Sell A Movie To Netflix?

Aside from getting your movie noticed, the deals may not pay. In response, some of my filmmaker friends argue that it is important to sell a movie to Netflix merely for the exposure. To that, I usually remind them that piracy is also good for exposure. And getting someone to bootleg your movie involves a lot less headaches.

Next Steps For Netflix Distribution

If you are still set on getting into Netflix, then you may consider reaching out to traditional distributors. Utilizing traditional channels may allow you to circumvent some of the requirements I mentioned earlier. And who knows? You might find a distributor able to negotiate an awesome deal.

Conversely, if you’re willing to go the distance, you can start the process by utilizing a filmmaker friendly VOD aggregator like Distribber. (Note: In full disclosure, I once ran operations at Distribber, and they still pay me to promote.)

In both instances, I would advise that you don’t hold your breath. Now that Netflix produces their own shows, getting in (and actually landing a satisfying licensing deal) may still prove challenging.

sell your movieIf you would like to explore other popular (and accessible) outlets for your movie, you might wanna focus on transactional platforms first like iTunes and Amazon and then drive targeted traffic to your point of sale.

While you’re at it, if you’d like more info on modern distribution tactics, check out the Independent Producer’s Guide To Digital Distribution.

Battle Online Movie Piracy With Piracy Pollution

Whenever I give talks related to movie distribution invariably somebody in the audience will ask me my thoughts online piracy. And my response is always the same.  If somebody wants to pirate your moive, they will figure out how to do it.

At one of my last talks, an enterprising filmmaker raised his hand and asked this question:

What would happen if I just took three-quarters of my movie  and put it on some of the popular piracy sites? Do you think if people sit through half of my movie, they would want to buy the rest?

I have been thinking about this gentleman’s question ever since. And I now realize that Piracy Pollution could potentially be a great, cost effective marketing tool.

Online Movie Piracy Pollution

What is Piracy Pollution? It’s when you take a portion of your movie and pollute the piracy sites with it. Theoretically, if someone is willing to sit through three-quarters of your movie and watch it come to an abrupt ending – they may very well seek out other sites to finish the experience.

But if you did a good job polluting the piracy sites, while at the same time peppering the internet with legitimate online press releases (that get ranked by search engines and show up on websites) your viewer may be more apt to find your website and pay the necessary money to watch your movie.

DISCLAIMER: What I am about to propose can spread your movie all over the internet and can possibly diminish your marketing efforts. I provide this disclaimer, because if you attempt Piracy Pollution – it could backfire. Your movie could end up on weird, bad, adult and unrelated sites – And you won’t be able to control this. So if you do something like this, do so at your own risk!!! (But then again, if your movie gets legitimately pirated, you’ll have the same issues anyway.)

How To Create A Piracy Pollution Campaign

Here are five tips to set up your Piracy Pollution campaign.

  1. Make sure you have a movie website.
  2. Get your movie into (at least) the Amazon marketplace or others…
  3. Embed the Watchbox player or add a link to your marketplace on your website.
  4. Uploade a small portion of your movie on Torrent type websites. (Note: Make sure you record black for the last portion. This will assure that the run time matches the actual movie.)
  5. Distribute a press release announcing the release of your movie in legitimate marketplaces.

With this strategy, an effective Piracy Pollution Campaign could help your movie get discovered in all the wrong places. But again, if someone likes your movie enough to sit through half of it, they might be inclined to pay money to watch the rest. This is where your legitimate press may also help drive valuable targeted search engine traffic back to your movie website.

What do you think of  Piracy Pollution? Leave a comment below.