Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Digital Download and DIY Web Sites

There are a few Web sites that help filmmakers offer their independent films for sale as a download or DVD.  Let's go over some and how they work and any pros and cons. Feel free to bring up any others that I've missed or any other pros and cons. All of the below offer non-exclusive services so you can still sell your goods on your own Web site or others at the same time.

This service is brought to you by Amazon. You send them your DVD and they will fulfill orders as they come in.

Pro: You don't need to create or house an inventory of DVDs. This saves you a lot of upfront cash since you won't have to make the DVDs and ship them anywhere. And you have your film listed on Amazon, which is a huge search engine for product.
Con: The dubs may not be the highest quality. Amazon takes a pretty stiff cut of your sales ($4.95/unit plus 45% of the sale if sold on or 15% if sold on CreateSpace E-Store). 

You send them 10 DVDs at a time and replace them in batches of 10 as they sell out. They also offer the ability for the consumer to download your film for a price that you set. 

Pro: Their cut of the sale is only $4 per DVD sold. This includes the shipping costs to the buyer. And they are willing to cut weekly checks. You can ensure high quality DVDs since you are making them. 
Con: They don't offer much marketing help and you need to provide them with DVDs, which is typically a lot of upfront cash. The less you sell your DVD for, the more their fee takes a bite of your profits. 

Your film needs to have been an official selection at a festival (though they claim to make exceptions).  You mail them a DVD or tape and they will load it in their system for downloads or DVD orders. They can use their own artwork for the DVD cases or you can provide the artwork. They split the royalties 70/30 in your favor. 

Pro: They do not charge any fees. They only take a 30% cut of each sale. If you are interested, they will approach 3rd party outlets like Amazon, Netflix, Joost, or Hulu and try to make your film available on those sites as well.
Con: Quarterly payments only. The royalty split is hefty if you are selling a pricey DVD edition. It is a 12-month commitment at a minimum. And they will charge you $100 to pull the title from their site and any other 3rd party sites on which they made your film available.

This service is similar to FilmBaby in that you need to provide the inventory of DVDs. It looks like they will accept and manage your entire inventory up to 1000 DVDs, including merchandise such as T-shirts or posters.

Pro: You don't need a separate storage unit for your inventory. NeoFlix will accept it all. They have some marketing programs to help you promote your film, including a product listing on Amazon. They will handle selling any merchandise, such as T-shirts or posters, as well.
Con: Pricey service. They have a set up fee of $238, a $35/mo. maintenance and customer service fee, and a per-transaction fee of 12% of each order.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jane - Nice blog.

You might want to also compare NeoFlix ( I think they're pricey but for some people they might be right.

Jane Kelly Kosek said...

Thanks for the heads up Noah! I added NeoFlix to the list.

Anonymous said...

I'm really happy that up-and-coming filmmakers have these resources. I think it's a great time to be making movies! Just think, it won't be too long until everything will be VOD and available globally at the push of a button.