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Online Video Distribution: Best System?
  • I have a hi-def project that I'd like to sell through online distribution channels. When I research things like Amazon Createspace and Vimeo, I keep coming across drawbacks: Vimeo'd require buying a pro membership at $200 a year, which I can't afford at this time. Createspace limits me to DVD resolution, and some reports have it that it doesn't get a lot of traffic anyway. Amazon On Demand would be marvelous, but I can't find how to make the product available that way. Another site, Kinonation, looks interesting, but I don't know how well it can market the video.

    Does anyone have any insight into the best system to market my video?

  • 8 Replies sorted by
  • I wrote a couple of popular posts about the various VOD platforms out there on my blog. This one links to earlier posts. (And there are a few others too). http://douglashorn.com/wordpress/distribution/launching-films-on-vod/

    I'm due to update it as some things have changed in the past 8 months but it's still a pretty good primer.

  • @DouglasHorn That's a good read, thanks.

  • @DouglasHorn DrDave is right: that is an excellent article. Once I get approval from the soundtrack composer, I'll probably set up accounts on those systems. Thanks a lot!

  • Happy to help.

  • Here are some systems I've been checking into and using.

    Amazon Createspace has the benefit of being familiar to everyone, and the use of searches works as a pretty powerful marketing asset. Basically, people shop on Amazon, they do searches, your product's going to come up. You can sell both DVDs and Video-on-Demand: the downside is that it is ONLY in DVD resolution, because you have to upload the material as an ISO file.

    VHX: This is a new film distribution website that seems to make all kinds of distribution available: VOD, DVDs, and more. It does allow for hi-def uploads, even 4K uploads. (There is some difficulty. For files larger than 5 gig, you need to use Dropbox, and for that capacity, Dropbox costs money.) I'm uploading my project here as I type, so I haven't found any downsides.

    Kinonation: Very similar to VHX, catering to the stduent-film and festival market. Looks good, but submissions seem to require that your project have an IMDb entry.

    Kunaki offers DVD-on-demand. Looks decent, but you have to mail them a physical DVD of your project.

    Trepstar: Again, DVD-on-demand. I'm not using this, as a search for reviews turned up a lot of accounts of this company not supporting products, adding weird one-time charges to milk customers, etc. Not taking a chance.

    I haven't tried the ones Dogulas suggested, Reelhouse and Indieflix.

  • I like VHX a lot too. I almost went with them. They seem to have put in the most and best development since my last article came out. I think they'll be the leader in my next update.

  • VHX's webite is **** perplexing. I gave up trying to figure out their setup after a minute or two - are they even in the business of distribution, or trying to grab venture capital?

    Kunaki looks legit for physical media, but I wish they offered blu ray,

    Kinonation lays everything out at least , but it does advertise a 20% cut and if you're right about the qualifications to get on board with them, it might be a challenge.

    BTW Have either of you done a Jerome Courshon workshop, or bought his video set?

  • Another option to look into is Gumroad. Fees are 5% + $0.25. You only are charged when someone purchases your film-- no upfront or recurring costs. You can make your film available for streaming and/or digital download.

    Here's the thing though: considering the amount of research you've had to do to find a distribution provider, I wouldn't count on any of these services having much impact on marketing your film. As they aren't household names, the general public is not going to these sites to find movies to watch.

    Instead, you need to do the legwork to get the word about your project to customers. In other words, you build the audience, and the distribution provides the means for them to buy it.

    In this way, the ideal service is one that gives you insight into your customers (analytics, customer email addresses, etc.) so that you can optimize your marketing efforts to find new customers and continue to build the relationship with existing ones. This is another benefit of Gumroad over providers like Vimeo or Amazon, who essentially "own" your customers.

    That said, there's no reason why you wouldn't want to have your film available in several marketplaces, especially the "walled gardens" with captive audiences (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Instant, Hulu, Netflix, etc.). Getting more eyes on your film is never a bad thing.

    If you're looking for one to start out with though, I'd recommend one that can be embedded on your site so that you can better control the purchasing experience for viewers.