Video on demand distribution has changed everything.
That is what I was thinking a few years back when I rented and watched a movie on my iPod. It was a time when video on demand distribution was new. VOD allowed me to directly access pretty much any movie I wanted. And I hadn’t yet realized that you could distribute your own movie.
Video On Demand Distribution Changes Everything
After wrapping our first feature, we were like a lot of filmmakers. We had a movie and we needed a deal. In the weeks that followed our film festival run, we received countless film distribution offers, but something seemed off. In exchange for no money we were offered the the validation of acceptance.
All we had to do was sign over the rights to our movie and we could see our movie in stores and video on demand platforms like Amazon and iTunes. The deals looked something to this:
- Give up the rights to your movie for 5-7 years.
- Pay $2k to 5k in “recoupable encoding expenses.”
- Agree to a 30k ambiguous expense cap.
- First monies out go back to the distributor.
- Marketing was limited to asking iTunes for “special placement.”
We didn’t take the deal. Since our movie had some buzz we decided to roll the dice and make it available on Amazon. This was a time when “self distribution” wasn’t sexy. But we quickly learned that cashing royalty checks was.
Since that time, video on demand distribution channels have become accessible. Through companies like Distribber, (who in full disclosure is a former employer, consulting client often advertises on this site) you can now distribute your movie on popular platforms without giving away your rights.
We should all run in the streets cheering. Video on demand distribution has ushered in the era of small business filmmaking. You can create your own mini movie studio. And you can distribute your movie without asking permission.