Personal View site logo
Cinema gear deals, direct from factories - Gear deals and Gear deals section. Also check Cameras, lenses, software, gear deals.
You support is vital for us. To keep this place ad free and independent, select one of the options below.
Donations are going to community support costs, hosting, etc. Your support allows to improve and expand this site.
VHX, digital video distribution platform, now public
  • image

    Source: http://blog.vhx.tv/post/79165850109/vhx-is-open-to-the-public

    When we launched VHX, we never imagined we’d get to work with creators like Kevin Spacey, Dave Grohl, Ira Glass, and Aziz Ansari.

    We’ve been in private beta the last two years, helping distribute feature films, documentaries, TV shows, comedy specials, concerts, lectures and more. We’ve helped launch Camp Takota, Upstream Color, Mistaken for Strangers, the Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing, and many more. VHX now has over 300 titles available for sale, over $3M in gross transactions, and almost 500,000 customers worldwide.

    VHX is now open to the public. Anyone can sign up and start selling immediately. Our internet-video-shaped doors are wide open: https://vhx.tv

    We are lowering our pricing. VHX is free to sign up and use, and we charge just 10% + $0.50 per transaction (down from 15-20%). No extra charges for credit card processing or anything – that’s everything. Transparency? Transparency. If you’re an existing publisher this pricing will be effective as of March 1st.

    Anything that used to be sold on DVD can be sold on VHX. Our platform works for a lot more than just film and TV. Faith, fitness, lifestyle, education…the list goes on. VHX also works for organizations both big and small: individuals, distributors, studios, networks, and more. Make a site to sell your work, distribute your project, and own the relationship with your audience. VHX is the technology platform that lets you run your own iTunes or Netflix. Your digital copies replace the old physical, anywhere in the world.

    VHX.jpg
    800 x 450 - 56K
  • 20 Replies sorted by
  • I sat in on a SXSW success story today that they were involved in, Indie Game: The Movie. Their VHX powered distribution of the digital version of their film met and then surpassed what they made with iTunes, even with preferential placement and high rankings.

  • @BurnetRhoades That's very interesting. I had been wondering just how receptive consumers would be to buying/renting/viewing movies from places other than iTunes and Netflix. My initial impression, based on nothing other than a guess, was that most consumers wouldn't really want to mess around with Distrify, VHX, or any of the other non-iTunes online sites. I'm curious if there's any detailed info on the kinds of revenue numbers some of the more successful (and less successful) films are doing on these alternate sites, including Vimeo On Demand.

  • My initial impression, based on nothing other than a guess, was that most consumers wouldn't really want to mess around with Distrify, VHX, or any of the other non-iTunes online sites.

    Thing to understand here that such services are made for different people. For people who sell some useful video stuff on their site. iTunes and Netflix can be completely useless for small producers due to almost zero exposure.

  • I guess my thought was regardless of how much exposure/marketing/advertising a film or video has, I was really wondering if consumers are turned off by using sites like VHX to buy/rent content. iTunes is trusted and feels legit, with an expectation of a smooth high quality viewing experience, where maybe VHX, Distrify, and the other sites are unknown and might be perceived as a bit "off" by consumers. Again, I would add that I really don't know what consumers think, so that's why I'm asking for people's opinion on how consumers are reacting to VHX, Distrify, etc.

    Either way - hopefully VHX, and the filmmakers/content providers working with them, have success.

  • iTunes is trusted and feels legit, with an expectation of a smooth high quality viewing experience, where maybe VHX, Distrify, and the other sites are unknown and might be perceived as a bit "off" by consumers.

    It looks like strange argument. As I understand that such platform must be much more easy for one time purchase and it leaves you more money also. iTunes has plenty of stuff, but it is really crappy thing if you are outside Apple devices.

  • That's a good point about people outside of Apple devices. Perhaps I'm having trouble explaining my question on this. It's basically the question of whether consumers are likely to be comfortable buying/renting movies from relatively unknown companies like VHX.

  • @matt_gh2

    Consider your average dvd-rental around the corner. People rent although there are some very shady ones out there. People rent from the supermarket. However, the mentality is of course not the same online – people expect more perhaps. My instinct here is that If the content and the experience is good, people will use it and endorse it to others. My guess is we will end up with 3-4 major players a couple of years down the road as content and availability is everything.

    Personally, I´d ditch Netflix in a heartbeat if someone had all/most of the tv-series available straight after release. I think a massive bottleneck here are the studios and moronic differences geographically in terms of release dates, availability e.t.c. Another PITA with the said company is the omnipresent suggestion function. You can´t search by cathegory / a-z / newly added / old. You spend more time browsing than watching if you don´t know what you are going to watch.

  • You can´t search by cathegory / a-z / newly added / old. You spend more time browsing than watching if you don´t know what you are going to watch.

    Generally, it is their goal. Major software/music stores are all limited, differently, but limited. As biggest interest for them is to sell promoted music, not push you to research.

  • Yes, understandable and I´d be completely ok with such a frontpage if it were not for omitting a decent search / listing function alltogether. The stores which can provide broad availability and accessibility / a degree of content transparency will quickly grab market shares.. A wild guess is google will dominate this in the end. They have all the tools already, apart from content. (Mind, they can instantly recognize the most sought after content and have supply meet demands)

    A service like VHX can be a major player for indie content and in such, have a function.

  • @matt_gh2

    That's very interesting. I had been wondering just how receptive consumers would be to buying/renting/viewing movies from places other than iTunes and Netflix. My initial impression, based on nothing other than a guess, was that most consumers wouldn't really want to mess around with Distrify, VHX, or any of the other non-iTunes online sites. I'm curious if there's any detailed info on the kinds of revenue numbers some of the more successful (and less successful) films are doing on these alternate sites, including Vimeo On Demand.

    They will be publishing their case study so that folks can see the breakdown of how their film did over about a two year period, but the figures were quite surprising, especially to them.

    They had fantastic exposure from premiering at Sundance. They already had a big mailing list, a successful kickstarter that raised part of their budget and about $150K in pre-orders. They had game and the top tier of mainstream press talking about their movie after festival premiere.

    They got approached by a lot of majors who were going to take it theatrical while the producers wanted to retain digital rights. The majors said they were going to lose money with theatrical so they needed the digital rights so they told them all no and then based on their mailing lists and requests for screenings they took the film on the road to something like 15 markets, selling out little art theaters mostly through pre-sales and that ended up expanding to something like 140 which radically increased their mailing list and exposure.

    So then they did a worldwide simultaneous digital release on three platforms: iTunes, Steam and their own website through VHX. They had already made sure that when people searched for their film the number one result was their own website. The VHX stream transaction took place there, so it wasn't like they were sending folks to another place run by a company they didn't know. It all took place on their site with VHX handling the transaction and this version was DRM free, per overwhelming feedback prior to digital release.

    One of the curious things was just a few months after this release they got on Amazon and Netflix and the risk there was that this would mean no more reason to buy, but they saw a huge spike in purchases with the Netflix premiere.

    How things shaked out with iTunes was mysterious because they were front page and charted in the top 20, as a documentary, sitting between Mark Wahlberg and Katherine Heigl pictures. They got ubiquitousness with iTunes but their personal site and Steam together vastly out sold this and then ultimately their personal site also outsold iTunes, regardless of charting and placement that most indies could not reasonably hope to ever achieve.

    The whole time they never spent a dime on marketing, it was all just the two filmmakers who built their audience before making the film and then kept them in the loop and grew it slowly through the process. Their case study at SXSW stressed "the long tail" of what the film does over time versus Hollywood's model of making most of their money at initial release. It was obviously a lot of work but the way things work is it's the people who bring the audience to the work that stand to be rewarded the best, not the maker, so for the indie they need to seriously decide how much they're willing to devote to the process.

  • Oh, there's another service for monetizing self-publishing that was part of a different panel called Littlecast and their player can be embedded on Facebook. In that situation I think FB takes something like 30% of the revenue and they're doing all sorts of evil stuff to manipulate and throttle exposure. Unfortunately they're now the biggest platform for streaming content. Apparently more people watch Youtube streams played through Facebook than they do at Youtube.com

  • @BurnetRhoades Great breakdown - thanks. Very very interesting. Did they mention what type of distribution the majors offered (15 markets vs 2500 theatres etc.)?

  • No, they didn't detail the deal, only that they were justifying wanting all rights by predicting that they would lose money doing a theatrical run (which the producers of the movie did not do with their own limited theatrical release). It's a documentary about a very specific subject so they were obviously thinking one-size-fits-all and preparing to fail or they were being disingenuous, since the majors aren't making money off physical DVD/BD sales anymore and scrambling to control digital delivery.

  • Cool. Yeah - been wondering just how decimated have the BD/DVD sales been in last 2 years, and to what extent has online/on-demand actually filled the gap.

    Congratulations to VHX on its public opening and its beta success. Best of luck.

    @maxr Thanks for original post.

  • Their case study at SXSW stressed "the long tail" of what the film does over time versus Hollywood's model of making most of their money at initial release. It was obviously a lot of work but the way things work is it's the people who bring the audience to the work that stand to be rewarded the best, not the maker, so for the indie they need to seriously decide how much they're willing to devote to the process.

    To my foraneous candid eye, this seems to be the axis of a different model for content distribution but not only. Personally I can relate better as it empower viewers and builds some sort of... community, communion. It surely looks interesting and most probably undertakes very hard work, but on the long run that sense of bi-directionality realationing could pay off.

    Don't know who said all individual things pass on

    @matt_gh2 thank ya bro, I'm soaking my feet too (learning)

    @RRRR, @VK thanks guys, great feed and very specially BIG thanks @BurnetRhoades for the detailed insights and reports =)

  • @RRRR That's a good point re various types of retail stores that people rent from.

  • @maxr and you hit on a common thread that was in both of the discussions. Traditional big content providers don't really know who their audience is. Netflix doesn't pass on meaningful statistics or information. Youtube doesn't give truly transparent data and don't use a fixed model to count views. Facebook is also not transparent or beneficial bi-directionally A big part of these new ways to monetize digital delivery and distribution for independent content creators is transparency of the audience and no barriers for bi-directional communication.

    The producers, for instance, knew that a huge chunk of their early popularity, the folks that stuck with them for 18 months while they were still finishing the film, were 13 year old boys in Russia. Not only is 18 months an eternity on the internet, it's a significant portion of those fans lives. The producers were very responsive and sensitive to the people who were supporting them the whole time and knew things that people like HBO, Miramax, and Paramount don't necessarily know about their consumers or fans of their content.

  • @BurnetRhoades IMO it is most interesting to see how a transparent and "fair" wide distribution platform can root and grow while maintaining the bar on content's quality at the same time it builds and entrusts (taste also gets educated, though might sound dangerously accommodating, here no whatsoever paternalism) a community of makers, viewers and supporters.

    To achieve that on a big scale... Somehow would mean that profitable would no longer be just the capital revenues but also the way content gets produced, distributed and shared. Audience's growing would also carry on content's quality growing (variety too)... It almost sounds like a kultur utopian concept =)

    Sorry for the mixed up thinking out-loud :P

  • This is an old thread but I was wondering if anyone was using VHX and how it's working out. I have Vimeo Pro but as long as I'm playing with new markets, I might as well look at new distribution methods too. Thanks!

  • Since no one is using them I thought I'd tell my experience so far. I'm a babe in the woods as far as online sales, never did it before. I signed up and had some questions so I emailed support. Got fast, accurate and personal answers. Later, I got an email from one of the higher ups. I expect it was both a fishing expedition to make sure I wasn't making Porno and info gathering for future help. Every day I get an email tip based on what's working for others on their system and they're damn good tips. I'm about to upload a couple free shorts to help establish a following. In case you didn't catch my drift, I like these guys and if I don't sell, it's because of my content, not their service.