If you’re one of the lucky filmmakers with a ton of organic website traffic and buzz around your film, then you might be tempted to sell or rent your film directly on your website for a price, rather than distributing it on a platform like Netflix. This may work if you know your transactional sales goal and you have an audience of rabid fans happy to transact… This gives you control over your business and provides for a significant margin.
While these factors might initially lead you to leverage your own website, there is a downside. When you transact outside of popular marketplaces, you lose discoverability. For example, let’s say you put your film on Amazon… The more sales and rentals you make (plus reviews), the more you potentially rise in the sales rankings. And the more you rise the sales rankings, the more people potentially discover your work. In other-words, what you lose in margin, you may more than make up for in volume.
Does Streaming Movies On Your Own Website Make Sense?
If you have lots of traffic and you decide to stream your own film, DO NOT use your own hosting to cover the bandwidth. That is silly. Let someone else handle all the content delivery issues. For this I recommend you get an account with Vimeo Pro. This way, you can set your own pricing and grab some embed code… And Vimeo will handle the rest.
If your website does not have a lot of visitors, you can still work on increasing your traffic as well as building email list. Then later, when you reach mass, you can focus on directing folks to your page on Amazon. To get your film on Amazon, you’ll just need to start the process at Amazon Video Direct.
While both Amazon and Vimeo provide great services for filmmakers, it is important that you remember the major, key aspect of the brave new world of filmmaking – YOU are responsible for sourcing your own audience. If audience building seems daunting to you, you might want to go through the training at Filmmaking Stuff HQ.