Are you wondering “how do I sell my movie on Amazon?” You are not alone. As one of most popular online shopping destinations in the world, Amazon is a first stop for consumers looking to buy now. So it is no surprise that millions of people also access movies via Amazon’s Instant Video service.
What makes Amazon interesting is Amazon Prime. Similar to Netflix, Amazon Prime is a subscription service where members can watch unlimited content. But unlike Netflix (which only pays filmmakers a one-time licensing fee, no matter how popular the content) Amazon Prime pays filmmakers per stream. This means more Amazon Prime views equals more money paid to the filmmaker.
Recently a Filmmaking Stuff reader wrote, asking some questions about how to sell a film on Amazon and then promote the film via her website. Here is the question:
I have had one frustrating year of trying to launch my film for sale onto the internet and I am really interested in what you have to offer. After listening to your audio downloads and having read your blog, I have many questions running through my head. How do I sell my movie on Amazon?
How Do I Sell My Movie On Amazon?
In the days of standard definition, getting a film on Amazon simply involved utilizing CreateSpace. The service allowed filmmakers to submit a standard definition DVD which was eventually ingested and put into the Amazon Instant Video service. This was great if your content was standard definition.
In the years since, the proliferation of smart televisions has fueled consumer demand for high definition. To meet this demand, CreateSpace now directs filmmakers to Amazon Video Direct. With Amazon Video Direct, you can get your film directly into Amazon and then decide how you want leverage release windows. You can choose to set a price for your content (TVOD), offer it “for free” on Amazon Prime (SVOD), or do both.
Unlike CreateSpace, Amazon Video Direct requires that you meet professional video standards in your delivery. So aside from having a nearly flawless video file, you will need to supply pristine artwork and closed captions. Because of these standards, many filmmakers hit snags during the delivery process.
If you don’t consider yourself a tech nerd, you can always work with an Amazon approved aggregator. Most likely you will be required to deliver in the ProRes 422 HQ format. From there, your files, artwork and trailer will be ingested, encoded, QC’ed and delivered to Amazon. Amazon will then review the submission and queue your film for the street date. (And yes, many aggregators can also manage the creation of closed captions.)
Promote Your Film On Amazon
Once your film is live in Amazon, you MUST promote it. One tactic (that virtually nobody does) is to ask cast and crew to telephone friends and family and let them know about the film. Assuming everybody has roughly 70 contacts, a few calls can get hundreds of people searching for your film.
The goal is to get enough engagement (sales, reviews and shares) from friends and family so your film gets ranked in Amazon’s referral algorithm. Getting included in referrals can help expand your footprint and promote discovery well beyond your immediate network.
In addition to telephoning friends, I also recommend you refine your film website to promote sales. One way to do this involves creating a home page that lists: Your film’s title, a tagline, some quotes, the trailer and a big BUY NOW button. That button can then be linked to your film page on Amazon.
If you don’t yet have a film website, I recommend researching bluehost.com – In full disclosure, they also pay me to promote. But it’s the same hosting company I use for some my websites. And if you need additional help, check out the Indie Producers Guide on How To Sell Your Movie.