Master VOD For Digital Distribution of Independent Film

No matter what stage you're at with your film, you're probably thinking about your distribution strategy. Will you use a sales agent? Do you want theatrical? What about festivals? The high cost (and effort) of theatrical release is prompting more and more independent filmmakers to lean towards digital self-distribution. So what is VOD, and what can it do for you?


TVOD - transactional video on demand - means that the fan pays to watch your film directly, and can then stream it. This is the kind of transaction that we offer on Social Screen and offers the highest percent of profit to the film-maker. TVOD platforms typcically charge up to 30% of the film's income. Our rate is 20%, which is only 17%, plus 3% to cover payment processing fees. On the other hand, because the film is on your own website, you have to work hard to market it to your audience. But you already know the benefits of that, right?

SVOD - subscription video on demand - is getting your film on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. While these platforms may reach a bigger audience, the percentage of profits to reach the filmmaker are low. The best way to reach these subscription services is to go through an aggregator. 

TVOD = Control

There are a number of benefits to self-distribution. First of all you have total control. You can set your price and decide when to release your film. No more waiting eons for the distributor to decide to release it!

Releasing on your own website also means that you can market to your target audience. Again, this is about control - we all love more control when it comes to film distribution.

The Hybrid Model of Distribution

Now, many filmmakers are chosing a hybrid model of distribution, distributing their film through festival release first, followed by TVOD and potentially also SVOD through an aggregator. If you use great festival reviews and build up an interested and engaged audience through social media, blogging and crowdfunding, then this can be a very effective model. Just remember to retain the rights that you need to distribute your film yourself online.

How Much Money Can You Make?

One of your biggest concerns will be - how much money can you make? Traditionally, sales agents and distributors have been seen as key to raising revenue, but are also increasingly seen as an a potentially unnecessary siphon of your hard-earned profits. Even with SVOD, you will only get a small return.

With digital distribution on your own website, you keep the bulk of what you make. For some film-makers this approach has been very profitable. If you can build your audience and make them hungry for your film, then TVOD is a fantastic distribution strategy.

Sell My Film Now!

Ready to start earning revenue from your film? Simply set up your Stripe account, upload your film, set your release date, and set your pay-per-view price. Make sure you let your audience know that it's out there, and wait for the profits to roll in.

Don't have a Social Screen website for your film yet? Get one for free right now.

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