How to Maximize Online Distribution


Distributing Your Film Online


Lesson Info

How to Maximize Online Distribution

So we'll get going here on maximizing online distribution and it's important to know the different formats. This is where it gets a little bit technical, but I'll try to just kind of keep it simple for you. We're going toe there's based their sort of some basic ones it's pay per view, there's licensing fees and minimum guarantees. Ad revenue will start with pay per view. Some of these you've heard of comcast itunes video that's where you can put your content up on this on those platforms and it's a pay per view, whether it's for ninety nine for one time view of the film over or not one time to you but it's, usually twenty four hours or a one time watch itunes is another one and video there's there's, a host of a lot of others comcast in itunes the difference between those two and video is you have to go through an aggregator to get onto the comcast platform. Is anyone there's a lot of cord cutters? I should really make sure. Does anyone here have comcast or adelphia or any of the cable...

channel? Now you're all cut cord cutters, so comcast is the cable channel where you can actually I guess I could say it out loud it's not the greatest you used your interface, but you couldn't like scroll through by alphabet and find a movie that you want to watch on pay five ninety nine now you can pay fifteen dollars and watch it before it's in theaters or before it's really available and um to get on comcast you have to go through an aggregator another company that will vet you and then they will pitch it to comcast and if they accept it then you go on to comcast bless you and it cost to get up there it doesn't there's no fee to get up there but it costs just to encode or digitize and prepare the deliverables to deliver to comcast um itunes is exactly the same cost anywhere from seventy five to four hundred or six hundred dollars to deliver the itunes and you have to be accepted onto itunes so they're highly curatorial comcast europe there anywhere from like ninety to one hundred eighty days then you come down it takes about one hundred twenty days or more to be paid itunes takes thirty percent off the top then the aggregator takes fifteen to thirty percent then there's the encoding costs and a few fees and you get what's left so if a paper views five dollars let's just say for round numbers itunes takes thirty percent and you can just do the math and it goes down comcast takes fifty percent the aggregator takes anywhere from fifteen to thirty percent and then there's fees and so you can see how it just goes down, down, down eventually it comes to the filmmaker video on the other hand, which is a very filmmaker centric site you can put your content up there on your own. How many people here use video great so video is I use video it's great to put content up there it's a great way to share your content through a password protected site with other people who you want them to take a look at especially like bloggers or journalists or film festivals or friends or anyone who you want to see it. They now have a pay per view version and or you could just have it for free which is another great way to monetize your content but there is no curative curation anyone could put their movie upon video so that's kind of the quick snapshot of the pay per view world the next one is ad revenue and so there's who lou and youtube who is anyone here familiar with the ad revenue sort of model on how that works. Ok, so so we have a little bit of relationship with people youtube so youtube is and who have ads either at the beginning of a piece of content or inserted through and at the end and you're basically paid what's called a c p m which is cost per and that is where everyone sort of like a thousand hits on something it generates a royalty payment from from the ad if the ad gets watched all the way through, so who lose cpm in its day was like around forty to fifty dollars, for an ad that was, if you got a thousand hits on your on that ad and it got watched through, it would generate that kind of money for your project. There's been all kind of varies a little bit, but there's a an error rate of like eight to twelve percent there's an ad network fee, which is anywhere from eight, two twelve percent who takes forty five to fifty percent there's, and it fluctuates a little bit so that's just from one ad, so it whittles down and you have to have at least a thousand hits on it before it's going to generate that payment so it's disruptive, you need volume, you need consistent volume in order to generate enough money to come in to sort of make it meaningful. So some people feel it isn't worth it. The disruption for what little tiny money you get. In fact, they feel like people will actually exit out because they don't want to have to sit through ads in orderto watch your content youtube, the cpm is anywhere from again, it kind of fluctuates, it can be a slow is like fifty cents to two dollars at one point, I heard its highest was, like seven dollars, and that was a stretch. So if you were to say even two dollars or a dollar fifty error rate net ad network, youtube boom, boom, boom, it bring leaves you very little. So when you see on youtube that something got hit, like a million times that's great, but they may have, like, got that over time, it doesn't mean that a million people are watching it all the time, so you might get a nice little couple thousand dollars. But then it's not like consistent, you got to keep putting content out there. And so, like your friends who are constantly creating content that they have to be constantly it's, like feeding a dragon like it's, just always hungry that way, montmorency, you gotta keep putting out good content because if you don't, they're just going to go somewhere else because there is so much content out there. Yes, does who also have operate through aggregators? Yes. Okay. Because it seemed to me the agency that a logical path to get content onto who? Unlike youtube, where it's obvious you can just post something anyone can put it up there, yeah. Great question who is highly curatorial way have a great relationship with who lose, so we submit content to them as well it's not our core business I don't do it a lot I do it when I want to play with content getting like other exposure and then driving them back to indy flicks actually and just bringing awareness around a project is actually why I was asking was way our first our first film is up on indie flicks yeah, we were thinking about putting it up on lulu not because we expected the ad revenue actually to generate a lot of money and you can do that for you I mean it's it's we've been excellent relationship with who because we were there early on we should talk we should talk it I actually move huge fan of who they're you know they're predominately television next day tv but they get a lot of they have a lot of traffic there cpm has come way down but still it's a great platform and it is only in the u s and because they're so highly curatorial I mean right now it's such limited content you can you get more attention from the people who are because there's fewer things to distract them if your title is on lou, people are more likely to see it because it's going to be there with very few other options it's true, they will, they will notice it, but remember you, they might be people who are like into extreme sports and comedy, and so there it's ah, they're interested in a different type of thing. Yeah, that's part of the problem, too, is that they're looking for like a specific kind of content, so the other is licensing fees. So a license for netflix has become sort of a last stop, the last destination for independent filmmakers, because they're growing so much that for you to even if you made your film for so you made your film for one hundred thousand dollars fabulous feature film netflix might give you five or ten or twenty thousand dollars for your film, and sixty million people could watch it in the world, or one person might watch it. You're going to make your twenty thousand dollars licensing fee that they're going to pay out to you over eight quarters. You're going to see it over the course of like two and a half to three years with no interest and it's going to be on netflix for sixty million plus and growing people to watch and you don't know who they are, and you can't message them and you have no analytics and you don't know who's watching your movie it's getting rated, there might be people giving reviews. That's awesome! So if you're just into exposure and you can get on netflix it's a great place to be but I wouldn't suggest going there first because you might as well go and this is where we do we'll talk about like this the whole idea of a window strategy go to a place where you could know that your audience you've done your homework, you know who your audience is you know where they watch content our audience loves apple tv and roque who more than xbox? So we put stuff we put our marketing muscle into those platforms first and that gets people talking and then there's a halo effect that will then cross over into the lesser popular platforms or um devices amazon prime is very similar to netflix they do a licensing feet, but they also have another sort of area, which is a pay per view where people who are not amazon prime members or amazon prime members can go in and actually pay to watch a particular movie. So that film wasn't licensed it's up there on a ref share and that's so you know eventually it's ok to be on all of these platforms, it's just that you want toe really pay attention to the timing of when you go onto those platforms and you don't want to hold him back too much like you don't need too much just between platforms because you're out there marketing all the time and people, I'm a firm believer that just as I shop a trader joe's for some stuff and whole foods for other things, and then just costco for my toilet paper and paper tells I think people watch, you know who lived for some stuff netflix for others, they might be online watching other things youtube for other things, so find where your content fits well with the audience, the first tear, the most passionate people, and then, you know, as as you start to exhaust that market a little plane go right into the other markets because you're not cannibalizing that. But netflix is the one exception where you put it up there first it's it's, a really coveted piece, you want to hold it back a little bit and just string it out and then there's the new version, a new model, which is the rpm model, which is the model that we created an r p m stands for royal to pull minutes. We started this actually in two thousand thirteen I learned that, you know, dvd and pay per view really slow to get people watching, you know they would come in, they'd have to put in their credit card watch one movie, and they weren't watching in exploring the rest of the the library. So I thought, how are we going to get people to really just go in and start discovering all this great content? How do we get them there? And then how do we get them watching and how do we get them sharing? We're actually building a new site to address exactly that. So I just started to play with the model and came up with this royalty pool minutes plan, which I first and foremost wanted to cut out all the middlemen when I was explaining to you about the ad revenue while it's free for everyone to come and watch your movie. Think of all the people that take a piece before it finally gets to you. So I was thinking, how do we pay filmmakers sooner? And how do we cut out all the middlemen? And so the rpm model is basically, we take thirty percent of the gross monthly revenue from the subscription, and that creates a pool every month. And then we look at all minutes watched in the library on every device, anywhere in the world, and we divide those minutes into the pool, and it comes up with evaluation for the minute. So then let's just say, if a thousand people watch a ten minute short film that's ten thousand minutes that month, and if it was seven cents a minute, which is has been lately between five and seven cents a minute that's almost seven hundred dollars for the month for that movie if it's a feature film say, a seventy two minute film and it's a thousand people anywhere in the world watch it all the way through that seventy two thousand minutes that you paid for your paid for times seven cents you're closer to five thousand dollars now that month and as things start to trend, they pick up. So we've built this wonderful analytics dash board, which is going to be launching soon where you'll actually be able to go in and see how many minutes watched, where they're being watched and eventually you'll be able to see on what devices and when people are actually exiting out of content because the more information that you have is a filmmaker you don't necessarily is much as I said carry a clipboard and get those e mails you don't really want to be having a whole lot of back and forth e mails with everybody but you really want to know is where the masses where people, if you find if you knew if you went online and learned that a whole bunch of people in the south are watching your movie, go to the south and do a theatrical go there and exploit that your fans that want your movie and want to support it and then there's just it goes from there don't go to where they don't care and say, hey, you should care because these guys care they're going like what we're not them you need to go here so they have you empower them to talk about it more ah analytics dash or something that you consciously wanted to implement different yourself e I wanted this for so long and it's taken a long time to build it because it needs to be for every single film and it took minutes it's a lot ofwork tio implement all of this technology wise and for it to be accurate so this is a great model that will can exist with all of the other models and it will have its place too in the window strategy so you're protected behind a pay wall so you're not cannibalizing other markets and I think that all of them at some point you should be on all of them so that you can maximize your return on your on your movie so we'll just recap here what is the best window strategy for your film? You know, like write down what is my window strategy it's a little bit deeper dive into the distribution piece so if you have let's take your film a short film you did the film festival circuit you can still continue to do the festival circuit because it's, a short film you can play the marketing for the short films is it is still growing. But you can take it and you can put it on youtube if you want to not everyone goes to youtube to find content. There is a huge audience there. You could get some validation. Get your name out there. You can put it on video for free or you could put a short so hard to pay for. So I would just make everything free and then think about you know where else could your film go? Showed in some coffee shops? Get your name out there. Like you said. Reach out to some of the the colleges where there are, you know classes showed at halloween. That's, that's a really great time themed. You know, films with themes like holiday themes are always really popular. People love especially halloween. People love to watch that, and they don't have to be always scary. Funny is the other great alternative. Um, anyone else want to take a stab? It like how they would, uh, you know, the window strategy for their film. Just I know I have helped, in part, stemming from good information to you on just the different platforms. Well, it's, you kind of touched on it before, actually exactly it it seems like the approach that we've been taking with their rooms, it sounds like we're going kind of in the right direction because I think I think like hell, its main objective, you know, funding is nice, but I don't think he's looking at these as a way of making making a fortune but getting the message and getting the name out there, I think, very important at this point, so you guys were protected behind the paywall on indie flicks and being paid for every minute watched if you were to go on who lou, you would be free, but he would be a different audience, so that is a great consideration. You can also I mean, if he really is just looking for exposure, he can also go up on youtube, or you can put a piece of it on youtube and say that you can watch the whole thing somewhere else. That's another thing you can always do is use other platforms just to bring attention to where the whole film lives. Itunes might also be a great opportunity. I do mean that use this sort of grocery store analogy, but it is true, I mean, how many platforms do you go to what what do you watch content? Personally, I watched all of them I was account on everything I don't watch who very much anymore. I don't like the interruptions. Yeah, I don't need you then that that's that's a personal taste thing there people who don't mind that but you're all cord cutters. This is interesting this where do you watch content? I piggyback off of my girlfriends accounts so that her family will have, like a family netflix account. We've been watching a lot of hbo go. We didn't really well ate well, it's in there with amazon? Yeah, okay, way you like the your netflix, hbo? Okay, but from now on backto I guess me personally like, just starting out of being a newbie tall, this information that sounds like youtube video for I guess kind of just starting out there kind of like new projects running out for me, but then eventually you want to go to the large ones and then to me it sounds like a lot of large ones aren't even they aren't that profitable just from the larger one. Well, none of them are all that profitable. To be perfectly honest that's why I'm here wanting to change that in a really dramatic way, but but the culmination of all of them I can bring you meaningful return so there is no real clear winner yet that you should say I want to be on this one platform and that's it well in the flex was my clear winner it looks is a great winner thank you for that anyone is a great winner because and I'm not saying that because I'm I founded the company it's because it there's so much thought put into how it's going to scale it still the early days it's sort of like buying land where you know there's either water or oil underneath it, right? And so you've got a like we're going to get it up here somehow and we're going to all everybody wins it's a it's a model that all boats rise with the tide and it pays it forward it's a goodwill model and it doesn't cannibalize other markets it's a protected market I mean I mean it protected model and a lot of thought went into it. Itunes is similar I tends us for the itunes user it's a convenience for the itunes for the apple customer but it's also really more devices and music. So I am a fan of having content and my investors used to say no you want everything exclusively on indie flicks and I said, I don't think that that's really smart I mean for the filmmaker, I think that it means there could be windows of exclusivity, but then you know you want to get it out in a lot of different places you want to have the conversation all over the place and you know I just believe in variety in that way um so you're on hbo and netflix deep what do you where do you watch content, hbo okay, team sometimes rina what do you guys watch the news thursdays on your tips? Nobody watches so you get three expensive in the new york times okay, so you read the new york times so you region news nobody watches like the today show of the cbs evening news are no prime time news. So where do you get jin is twitter npr twitter and we are good news, ok, that kind of so this is such good information for me I mean, I do too I consume it all I think I'm a member of everything because I have to because I'm setting user interface and how you know, just the interaction so ok with that said, you need to make sure that you're you're talking about your film that you're reaching your audience through google news through the new york times through npr through all of those things that's where you want to be communicating because I believe you are the future of how people are going to consume their content and their news so always be thinking about how people how do you reach them um yeah, before we move beyond the windows of distribution, getting back to thie companies who use aggregators can you talk a little bit about strategies for working with aggregators because the point is getting through that narrow channel and on to netflix if you want a lot of exposure and you're not too concerned about what the revenue is on the back end it's difficult to know how to navigate those channel lt's absolutely so you can go online there's a lot of different lists the film collaborative is a company that has an ongoing sort of update of lists all the time of aggregators and distributors and I think if they didn't if they don't know they used to I think they still do they grade you they grade them so um they're quite good about keeping that list up to date, but there are you can also just google aggregators to get my film up on netflix and it will come up with the list can also contact me and I can give you some feedback indy flicks is an aggregator as well it's not our core business so it's not what I pushed for I really want to grow our subscriber base so that we can make the rpm valuation as high as possible so that you're making money but aggregators take typically any within anywhere from fifteen to thirty percent sometimes more you also are going to cover costs in advance yes or they're going to charge you for those costs and sometimes they patted a little bit they will be the ones that will then submit pitch your project to netflix amazon prime who lou and then if it gets accepted and you're going to buy the way provide all of the content that they need to pitch it and then once they pitch it if it gets accepted then the deliverables air there and they will deliver that and they usually use people who helped do that and you will pay for that as well it's rare these days that you khun pushback and ask them to come down on their percentage because they just sort of say this is what it is across the board people really hot movie you might be able to because they know that you might go somewhere else where they are going to cut it by five percent when you can do on rare instances is negotiate for your costs to deliver to come out of your first money so if you don't have the money to pay it up front you say take it out of my share my royalties when the check comes in what two costs to deliver tend tio two run I'm sure they're fairly standard well actually it kind of very so you know sometimes it's ah twelve hundred dollars depending on what you shot on and the quality and all of the elements it has to be formatted into us very you know very specific deliverables and your deliverables air different for every platform so you might go to an aggregator like gravitas gravitas is one that I am a fan of I like them they are trust them and they will answer your calls and they get back to you usually it's not always easy for one cause so busy but so they will they will put content out for you and wait, what was the question the standard cost? This is they might delivered a netflix but then you say ok, we want to go to itunes worlds slightly different deliverables so you're going to pay a little something else to do itunes and then you're going to go to comcast they need something completely different so you might pay for deliverables multiple times and it varies just a little bit something's there across the board subtitling it is across the port sometimes there things like now it's by law the to go on tv, you have to have closed captioning for the hearing impaired so there's all these new things you have to pay for to deliver to the platforms so there is a cost involved and then it's usually ninety to one hundred twenty business days before you receive any money and the reports are confusing they just are I have tried really hard

Class Description

Your film doesn’t have to appear in theaters to find its audience. Distributing an indie film online is an effective way to increase the visibility of your movie, get compensated for your efforts, and validate your work.

Maverick independent film entrepreneur Scilla Andreen was done with the one-sided deals brokered by the big guys. She wanted independent filmmakers and producers to have more options, so she built one: – a platform for DIY film distribution that Variety magazine calls, "The Netflix for Indie Films." In Distributing Your Film Online, Scilla will detail the distribution landscape and teach you how to find your audience online. You’ll learn:

  • How to distribute your film online
  • The benefits of online distribution
  • How to monetize filmmaking

Scilla will discuss the no-nonsense architecture of online film distribution and help you reduce and navigate the layers of distraction between making a film and having people actually see it. You’ll learn how the IndieFlix model works and how it, and other online distribution platforms like it, make money for independent filmmakers.

If you are ready to find an audience for your indie film, Scilla Andreen can show you how it’s done online.


a Creativelive Student

This course is only an introduction to online distribution for films. It doesn't go deeper in any aspect nor gives you concrete steps depending on your film project. So if you've never heard or thought about distribution is a good place to start in a few hours, but if you are looking for a deeper analysis or information to reinforce the online distribution of your film, it isn't there in my opinion.


Was this an instructional video, or a plug for a commercial enterprise. Light in detail, this series does offer a few gems for those searching for answers. It did put into perspective the odds of finding distribution in a marketplace crowded by competition where everyone is looking for ways to maximize a return on investment and offers alternatives to those wishing to tackle the job of online distribution themselves. Because "once a film is completed, the real work begins." it is important to know what these alternatives are. David W. King, Michigan Movie Media 2.0