You’ve done the research, read a couple of articles (hopefully this one too 😊), asked some experts, and decided to self distribute your movie. At this point you’ve probably found that there are a lot of options. From a small premiere with family and friends to your movie in the top 10 of your preferred streaming service. To help you out a bit, here are some ideas on how to get your movie to the world of online video on demand.
Prime Video Direct
A division of Amazon Prime. Allows you to upload your own content and decide how you want to get paid for it, with a variety of Licensing options. You maintain your rights and keep creative control. You also have at your disposal many marketing tools straight from the giant of online retail. Prime Video Direct also provides you with metrics and information about your viewers to help you understand your audience and market your content properly. This is no doubt a great way to get to distribution with no middle man.
Streaming your movie on Youtube/Vimeo/Own website
Another interesting option for self-distribution is online video platforms. Like Youtube and Vimeo, but also your own website, Facebook, or even Instagram. These platforms allow for your content to be seen, reach a wider audience and get feedback, but will not really help you monetize. This is not necessarily bad. Going this way or not will depend completely on your goals and plans for your project.
If this is a super commercial, easy-to-understand romantic comedy, this will be (in my opinion) an absolute no-no. This is the kind of movie that you can make money from. Streaming your movie on a free platform will just be hurting your work. However, if we’re talking about a more insightful short film, that touches certain topics or shows a more independent/artsy vision, go for it. This will allow you to show your style, while talking to a much closer and familiar audience. This will also help you gain momentum that can help you to reach other distribution alternatives.
Aggregators and getting to (basically) every other streaming platform
Say none of these options work for you (and your project, mostly, your project). If you still want to have your movie on iTunes, Hulu, Google Play, and whatnot, you will need an aggregator. Aggregators are basically sales agents for VoD, and you’ll need them to stream your movie. They are companies that, for a percentage of your revenue or a fixed fee, will get your movie to streaming platforms. Just like exhibitors, these platforms don’t deal with individuals directly so you can’t really pitch your finished project and get a contract. But aggregators can.
We’re not getting into detail as to what aggregators are best or what kind of deal you can expect. But – in theory – they can be easier to find than sales agents or traditional distributors. Also, aggregators do the work of encoding and preparing your film for streaming, while a sales agent/distributor will normally require you to provide that. So there’s that too.
I hope this gives you some insight on where to go with your project. In any case, always make sure to consider distribution from the start and include it in your budget. Even if you go for free or low-cost alternatives.
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