When selling films on-demand on the internet became a reality a few years ago, it wasn’t that different to other modes of distribution. The filmmaker licensed the exclusive IP (internet protocol) rights to their film to the platform – Joost, Babelgum, whatever – and it was then largely up to the platform to bring in the traffic. The platform then took a big slice of the financial pie and passed the dregs onto the filmmaker.
But in the last couple of years a different model has emerged, championed both by Distrify and Dynamo Player amongst others. Their set-up is more a like a YouTube with money. You upload your film to their site, you embed the film on your own site and wherever else you want, you drive traffic to it, and they take a relatively small cut of the money the film makes. No exclusivity, no middle men, no chasing sales reports – just log in and check the stats.
Distrify in particular has two unique features that appealed to me.
Firstly, the Distrify player doesn’t just allow the viewer to watch a free trailer and pay to stream the whole film if they like what they see; it lets you sell anything you want – other films (perhaps behind-the-scenes featurettes), downloads of films or any type of file, or physical objects which you mail to the buyer like you would with eBay.
Secondly, Distrify encourages people to promote your film by giving them a cut of the profits; anyone who shares your film by embedding it on their website, posting on Facebook, etc, etc, gets a percentage of the money the film earns through this embed/post/whatever.
So what this means in practice is: if you click the Share button in the player below you can earn yourself some easy cash – a 10% cut for doing pretty much nothing….