When you finish your film, it is common for acquisitions executives to promise wonderful things. Since these Hollywood types are trying to get the biggest deal they can, most will ask to exclusively represent your film. If you decide to move forward, they will tell you to wait and do nothing while they try to make a deal.
At first the attention is exciting. But as the days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, much of the once wonderful talk fades into radio silence. This can be especially frustrating if you continually receive emails from rabid fans requesting ways to buy the film. Then when you finally hear back from the executive, in a lot of cases, the only “deal” is the promise of getting access VOD marketplaces.
“We can get your film on iTunes. We may be able to get you special placement.”
How to Access VOD Marketplaces
Don’t get me wrong. If the distribution deal is good, take the deal. But if the deal only serves as a way to access VOD marketplaces, you may want to consider using an aggregator. An aggregator typically has access to popular stores like FandangoNow, Google Play, iTunes and many others. And in additional to providing access (which is valuable), an aggregator will also work with a post house to manage ingestion, encoding, quality control, delivery and once delivered, accounting.
In this respect, you will need to supply an uncompressed video file (typically a ProRes 422HQ), high-resolution artwork and selling points to help pitch your film. From there you can decide if you want to offer your film as a rental, download or combination of both. Depending on the marketplaces you choose, it can take roughly three months to complete the process.
While there are many aggregators eager to help you access the VOD marketplace, one company worth researching is Distribber. This is because (in full disclosure) I work there full time. And everybody I work with loves helping filmmakers. Here are two case studies worth exploring:
In both of these examples, the filmmakers did not need a distribution deal to be successful. They took time to identify their audiences, and then they created a plan for driving their audiences to a point of sale.
While there is no guarantee of success in any business, filmmakers who hustle tend to do better than those who sign away rights with a set it and forget it attitude. If you’d like to start planning your own distribution strategy I recommend downloading my film distribution checklist and learn everything you can.