Digital Distribution

One of the most crucial ingredients for success for any Film Producer or Director, is being aware of the many markets available for their film when it comes time to sell it. One important market is the online (internet) platforms for movies and documentaries.

Frequently referred to as Digital Distribution, the delivery methods of your content to customers online include VOD (Video-on-Demand), streaming video, download-to-watch, and download-to-own. As this is one of the fast growing methods of movie distribution, it behooves the Film Producer or Director to be knowledgeable about what it takes. And while this is only one viable market, one can’t ignore that Digital Distribution is the future that has now arrived. Here’s a few points you should know, when you’re ready to exploit this market:

1) Cut out as many middlemen as possible with Digital Distribution

As I discuss in my classes and in my 3-Day Distribution Program, you do not need a “producer representative” to do Digital Distribution for you. So that’s at least one middleman cut from the profits. However, you may need to utilize an “Aggregator,” depending upon which platforms you want to utilize. An Aggregator is one who acquires content for various digital platforms, and this is not the same as a producer representative.

The larger and more well-known a platform is, the more likely an Aggregator is needed. But you do not (should not) pay any upfront money to any Aggregator, to handle your film for Digital Distribution. Of course, there are hundreds of smaller platforms where you can interface directly yourself — no Aggregator needed — to get your movie or documentary on those sites.

If you do choose to utilize an Aggregator, be sure you check up on them, and be clear about what rights you are granting in any agreement, before signing it.

2) Don’t underestimate the “Art” in Digital Distribution

Another important issue is your Key Art, also known as your movie poster. This needs to excellent, because it’s the first thing your potential customer sees when deciding what they want to watch or buy online. Not just “okay,” not “decent,” not “adequate,” but “kick ass.” If you had a unit photographer on set during your film production, this is most helpful in building visual assets you will need to sell your film. There are remarkable statistics that distributors, movie studios and veteran filmmakers all know: The better your movie poster, the better your sales will be, not only in the packaged media arena (DVDs & Blu-rays) but in the Digital Distribution arena as well.

3) When entering the Digital Distribution market, think of your Audience

Consider your audience for your film. Where are they likely to window shop? If someone is specifically looking for your movie or documentary, of course all they have to do is use Google to find you. But if they don’t know about your film, how will they find you?

This is where being on the major platforms is really important, or at least being on the prominent platforms that your audience frequents. Frankly, I recommend being on all the major platforms, but if there are some sites that really cater to your type of film, be sure to get on those sites as well.

Digital Distribution isn’t brain surgery, but this arena has shifted more over the past 1-2 years than any other market for your film. Staying on top of all the developments can be time consuming and impossible for most Producers & Directors. So here’s my last tip: Any major or significant developments in the Digital Distribution market are posted on my Film Distribution page at Facebook. Follow this, and you shouldn’t miss any major news: http://www.facebook.com/FilmDistribution

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