Friday, April 24, 2009

Is It Possible to Monetize Your Film Online?

Is it possible to monetize your film online? That is the eternal question from every filmmaker out there right now. I am skeptical but hopeful at the same time. 

The skeptical, business side of me says how do you make money on products that are entering an oversaturated market in which the going price is $2.99 or even free per download? 

The hopeful side of me says this is the Wild Wild West all over again. Even the big guys haven't figured out a strong solution of monetizing so that gives hope to the little guys of having a chance of figuring out a system that could work. 

Traditionally, the only hope an indie film had of making any return was to be picked up by a distributor and paid a large enough advance to cover costs - or - going on a self-distributed release consisting of paying for venues and DVDs and praying there would be enough interest to cover the costs of the release and the making of the film. This system rarely worked for the majority of independent films being made each year. 

Now there seems to be a race to figure out how to monetize film releases on the Internet as DVD sales and rentals are slowing and audiences are getting more of their entertainment online. The problem is that audiences are used to getting their entertainment for free or at very low cost on the Internet. How do you change that mentality or do you create a system of advertising that covers the costs of Internet sites actually paying decent advances to filmmakers for the download release of the films they feature?

And how do our smaller films compete with the studio films for air time -- even on the Internet? All these questions to ponder -- something I do on a daily basis. And, unfortunately, no real answers yet. If any of you have any ideas on how to monetize our films on the Internet, bring 'em!

1 comment:

Phantom of Pulp said...

Monetizing a feature film (solely) on-line is presently a very tall order, Jane.

As you say, punters are paying $2.99 for downloads, or expect to see films (illegally) for free.

There is a culture of entertainment free lunches out there.

Ultra-low-budget films/videos may be able to monetize from on-line sources, but they will need an alternative approach to what is currently being tried by the studios.

There are examples of companies successfully monetizing their "product" on-line, but these are predominantly porno companies.

Their models are more conservative financially because their production costs are very small.

What we have is a new system of delivery that is vying with an old system of financing and budgeting. The old system won't budge from its excesses. Until it does, on-line profits will be the domain of pornography.