What are the best ways to monetise independent films?
Internet and digitalization continue to be the game-changer in every aspect of filmmaking business. Technology has indeed changed how movies are being watched – Dolby effect, to Four senses or 3D. The idea has been to push forward with newer, exciting, and more seamless experiences for every film enthusiast. The recent technology has changed how content is consumed today. Gone are the days when you needed a third party to distribute your independent films. Filmmakers nowadays can self-distribute their films using various VOD platforms. Putting film on these platforms attracts a global audience and lets you earn through film monetization.
Such a journey of sharing your film by yourself saves you unnecessary charges. However independent filmmakers might find it difficult to make a mark amidst the crowd of commercial, blockbuster and mainstream movies. Getting your creation nominated by platforms like Netflix and Primevideo might only sometimes happen. Needless to worry, platforms like Vimeo on Demand, Canvas, Mubi have proved to be the doorways to engage and entertain the audience round the clock.
Before knowing how to self-distribute your film, let’s have an idea about film distribution.
Film distribution avails your film to the public. Previously, this distribution was handed over to the distributors, who were responsible for taking the film to the theatres. However, nowadays, people are more inclined toward streaming platforms which has changed things drastically.
Today filmmakers and especially indie filmmakers, want to get their films released on streaming platforms as this is where most of their viewers are.
These streaming platforms eliminate the need to involve a third party, and filmmakers can self-distribute their films. They can sign up on any streaming platform and add their film or short film to their channel.
Self-distribution of a film removes the need for a distributor and lets the filmmaker do the distribution.
Some of the recent platforms that help independent filmmakers to distribute their independent films are:
Vimeo On Demand stands out as a premier platform for independent film distribution, thus empowering indie filmmakers. One distinctive aspect is its filmmaker-friendly revenue model, allowing creators to set their pricing, choose rental or purchase options, and retain a significant portion of the revenue generated. The platform also provides a customizable showcase environment, enabling filmmakers to design their storefronts with personalized branding, trailers, and promotional materials. Vimeo On Demand fosters a supportive community of filmmakers and film enthusiasts, facilitating networking and collaboration. Its global reach ensures that independent films can find audiences worldwide, and with Vimeo’s reputation for high-quality streaming, filmmakers can present their work in a visually immersive and professional manner. Additionally, Vimeo On Demand offers flexible distribution windows, allowing filmmakers to control the release timing of their films.
A unique feature introduced by WFCN, Canvas is an exclusive digital platform for enthusiastic film professionals and film buffs to access worldwide probabilities on encouraging the research, production, co-production, and the accomplishment of independent filmmaker for the audiences. WFCN connects the filmmakers, film producers, exhibitors, festival curators, and creative personalities for mutual benefits, reciprocity, and the flourish of the film industry.
Canvas is an online platform that aims at providing young filmmakers, budding filmmakers, debut filmmakers, independent filmmakers not only to monetize their artwork but also discover and reach a wider community of film professionals. The creation of this platform aspires for the exhibition of the workpieces of independent filmmakers to numerous film lovers.
The prime intent of WFCN- Canvas marks the segregated promotion of independent films, and the Filmmaker community for recognition and earning from their piece of artwork and viewers’ database. Our belief is manifested in the thought that cinema holds the power to bring a new evolution and can promote the fundamental values of an independent filmmaker.
Amazon Video Direct makes a powerful platform for independent filmmakers seeking to distribute their films, because of its massive global audience, providing unparalleled exposure for independent content. Filmmakers can leverage Amazon’s vast user base, including Prime Video subscribers, to expand the reach of their films to a diverse and extensive audience.
The platform provides multiple monetization options, allowing filmmakers to earn revenue through rentals, purchases, and inclusion in the Prime Video subscription service. This versatility in revenue streams gives independent creators flexibility in designing their distribution strategies to align with their goals and audience preferences.
Amazon Video Direct also offers detailed analytics, allowing filmmakers to track the performance of their films. This data-driven approach provides valuable insights into viewer behavior, enabling creators to refine their content strategies and marketing efforts for optimal impact.
Additionally, Amazon Video Direct supports the creation of IMDb pages for films, enhancing discoverability and credibility for independent filmmakers. This feature provides a dedicated space for audiences to learn more about the film, its creators, and its critical reception.
YouTube plays a pivotal role in the self-distribution of independent films, offering filmmakers an expansive and accessible platform to showcase their work. With its vast user base and global reach, YouTube provides a democratized space where filmmakers can upload, share, and promote their films without the need for traditional gatekeepers. Filmmakers can monetize content through ads, channel memberships, or sponsorships, empowering them to earn revenue directly from their audience. Moreover, YouTube’s analytics tools enable filmmakers to understand viewer demographics and engagement, aiding in targeted marketing efforts. The platform’s search and recommendation algorithms further enhance discoverability, making it an indispensable tool for independent filmmakers seeking a global audience.
MUBI distinguishes itself in the realm of independent film distribution through its unique curation model and focus on quality cinema. MUBI offers a curated selection of 30 films at a time, handpicked by its team of film experts. This approach not only ensures a diverse and thoughtfully chosen lineup but also provides independent filmmakers with a spotlight, elevating their work among cinephiles. MUBI’s emphasis on international, classic, and independent cinema creates a niche audience that actively seeks out unique storytelling.
The platform’s global reach allows independent filmmakers to connect with audiences worldwide, offering a unique opportunity for international recognition. In essence, MUBI’s curated platform, focus on independent cinema, and global audience make it a distinctive and advantageous avenue for filmmakers seeking a more discerning and appreciative viewer base for their independent films.
6. Apple TV
Through the Apple TV app, filmmakers can distribute their independent films to a vast and diverse audience, tapping into millions of users across various Apple devices. Apple TV provides a user-friendly platform for purchasing and renting digital movies, creating a seamless experience for viewers to access independent films. Filmmakers can leverage the platform’s extensive reach to showcase their work to audiences worldwide. Moreover, Apple TV emphasizes a high-quality viewing experience. Independent filmmakers can present their content in a visually immersive and professional manner, aligning with Apple’s commitment to delivering premium content. The integration with iTunes Connect facilitates the submission and management of films on the platform. Filmmakers can control pricing, availability, and other aspects of their content, providing them with a level of control over their distribution strategy. In essence, Apple TV’s global audience, emphasis on quality, user-friendly interface, and integration with iTunes Connect make it a compelling platform for independent filmmakers seeking widespread exposure and a premium presentation for their films.
The Platform creates an opportunity for independent filmmakers to reach a broader audience beyond traditional distribution channels. Hulu’s commitment to a diverse range of content, including independent films and documentaries makes it stand out. Hulu’s original content production is another key feature. While this primarily involves TV series, Hulu has also ventured into original films. Independent filmmakers may find opportunities to collaborate with the platform for the production or distribution of original content, providing a platform for unique and innovative storytelling.
Distribber stands out due to its distinctive aspect where filmmakers pay a one-time fee for film distribution services, allowing them to retain 100% of their revenue after recouping the initial cost. This transparent and filmmaker-friendly pricing structure empowers creators with greater financial control over the distribution of their films.
Dacast’s Video on Demand (VOD) features allow filmmakers to build a comprehensive library of their films, offering viewers the flexibility to watch content at their convenience. Monetization options, including pay-per-view and subscription models, empower filmmakers to generate revenue directly. Dacast’s white-label solutions and security features enable creators to tailor their distribution strategies while ensuring content protection, making it a versatile and effective choice for independent filmmakers.
Uscreen allows filmmakers to create their branded video streaming service, enhancing their brand presence and offering a tailored viewing experience. Filmmakers can sell or rent their films directly to audiences, employing diverse monetization models like subscription plans or one-time purchases. Uscreen’s flexible approach to content delivery and revenue generation makes it a valuable asset for independent filmmakersseeking control, customization, and profitability in their self-distribution venture. Uscreen can be the best self-publishing and film distribution platform with professional-grade tools and features. The platform is not only useful for streaming, but they also offer website building, application development, and TV apps.
Kaltura supports Video on Demand (VOD) services, facilitating the monetization of films through various models like pay-per-view and subscription plans. The platform’s analytics tools provide valuable insights into viewer behaviour, helping filmmakers refine their film distribution strategies and understand their audience better. Kaltura’s scalable and secure infrastructure ensures reliable content delivery, crucial for a seamless viewer experience. With its flexibility in design and monetization options, Kaltura empowers independent filmmakers to customize their platforms according to their specific needs, fostering a unique and engaging viewer experience.
The platform’s robust content monetization capabilities, allows filmmakers to implement various revenue models such as advertising, pay-per-view, or subscription-based access. This flexibility empowers independent creators to craft monetization strategies tailored to their specific goals and audience preferences. Filmmakers gain deep insights into viewer behaviour, engagement metrics, and geographic distribution, enabling data-driven decisions to optimize content strategy and marketing efforts.
13. Seed and Spark
The platform uniquely combines crowdfunding and film distribution, providing a holistic platform for independent filmmakers. Filmmakers can raise funds on the platform and, upon successful funding, seamlessly transition to the distribution phase. This integrated approach simplifies the financial aspect of filmmaking, offering a one-stop solution for both funding and distribution. Seed&Spark places a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion, actively supporting projects that represent a variety of voices and perspectives. Filmmakers with underrepresented stories can find a supportive community on the platform, helping them connect with audiences who appreciate unique and diverse narratives.
It is a streaming platform that supports independent filmmakers by offering unique features tailored to their needs. One notable feature is IndieFlix’s emphasis on social impact content. The platform supports films that aim to create positive change, providing a platform for filmmakers whose stories focus on important social issues. This niche approach sets IndieFlix apart, making it an attractive option for creators who prioritize meaningful storytelling. IndieFlix’s focus on social impact, revenue-sharing model, and community engagement make it a distinctive and supportive platform for independent filmmakers seeking to share meaningful stories and generate income from their creative work.
It is a streaming platform that stands out for its curated selection of independent, international, and classic films. Fandor’s team of curators selects films based on artistic merit and unique storytelling, creating a platform that caters to audiences seeking diverse and thought-provoking content. This curated approach provides independent filmmakers with a specialized space to showcase their work to an audience appreciative of distinct narratives.
The platform is a mixture between an aggregator, distributor, a tech platform, and a marketplace where VOD platforms shop for content.