What's the best VOD option for my documentary?

by Todd
(Utah USA)

Question: I have a finished 1-hour documentary that I'd like to offer for sale on the internet as a buy or rental download. What would you suggest is the best VOD service provider?

Desktop Documentaries: Every day it seems I'm hearing about another VOD provider (maybe 200+). This is a constant evolving and exciting part of being a filmmaker -- all part of the new world of self-distribution. No longer do you have to rely on traditional distribution or a middleman to get your film out to your audience.

Here are just a few choices for online VOD distributors:

  • Amazon/Create Space -- they take a 50% cut of your sales, but they are a well known trusted entity and they can create on-demand DVD's as well as VOD rentals.

  • IndieFlix -- This group looks interesting. There are no set-up fees, they take a 30% commission on sales and they say they can negotiate to get your film on other online video providers such as Netflix and iTunes.

  • Chill -- Launched in late 2012, Chill Direct offers a whole e-business solution for filmmakers, not only offering a way for filmmakers to sell their films directly to their audiences through dvd sales and downloads, but also providing a "store front" where filmmakers can sell additional items related to the film such as merchandise, services and fun perks. It's a 70/30 split with filmmakers keeping 70% of the sales. Learn more.

  • Distrify -- I'm not a huge fan of the "look" of their player wtih the three colored buttons, but they have a cool option where anyone who embeds your film on their personal website, they get a 5% cut of the sales which encourages people to showcase your movie and help you sell more downloads!

  • Filmbinder -- this is a great option if you don't have your own website -- a great one-stop-shop. They'll host a web page for your documentary and you get to keep 100% of your profits after you pay a monthly fee of about $12.

  • Distribber -- These guys will shop your movie around to all the big online video providers such as Netflix, iTunes, Hulu and Amazon. You pay them a one time fee to negotiate these deals and then you keep the profits.

None of the above VOD providers require any kind of exclusive deal (except maybe Chill), so you are not limited to just one choice. Really, the more providers you can use to showcase your documentary, the more chances you'll have to make a sale.

Hope this helps!

Sell Your MovieSomeone who knows a lot about online movie distribution is Jason Brubaker. He's got tons of resources on his website filmmakingstuff.com or you can buy his set of books (left) all about DIY distribution.

Read an interview with Jason.

Learn more about DIY distribution ideas for documentaries.

Anyone have any other suggestions or experience with VOD providers? Please comment below.

Comments for What's the best VOD option for my documentary?

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Feb 10, 2013
about amazon
by: Anonymous

I have 7 films for sale on amazon. I think they are going to close the whole VOD department!

I watch business news on tv and the net. Amazon lost 273 million last quarter! That's over a BILLION per year. And, one losing department is AMAZON INSTANT VIDEO.

It is common sense they cannot keep doing what they are doing. A new CEO or someone is likely to start chopping, and soon.

Already I notice that the time it takes for a movie to be for sale going up. It used to take about 6 weeks. I have been waiting for about 95 days now for my last 3 submissions, and they keep saying they will be for sale "soon". Also, their subsidiary, Create Space now does not reply to all inquiries, and their replies are often stupid, indicating they are now using less and less competent people. All signs that they don't really care now.

before you get excited about amazon, keep this in mind. They now say it will take 90 BUSINESS DAYS, which is about 114 days from the time they get it. (It takes two weeks for them to "receive" it, even though the mail probably takes only a few days. Then, you do not get paid for any sales till 60 days AFTER THE SALES MONTH. Figure on waiting 6 months realistically, and consider this department may be closed by then.

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