Real-Time Sales Reporting

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This afternoon & evening was spent setting up all of the theaters in our real-time affiliate portal for Phoenix, Oregon. It was quite a task since I had to input bulk orders and payments from the last four weeks and try not to make any calculation mistakes.

We are paying 48% commission going forward which accounts for a 50/50 split with theaters after credit card transaction fees which are the standard 2.9% + $0.30. Rounding to 48% (in the theaters’ favor) makes overall calculations simpler.

I feel happy making this real-time sales information available to theaters. Maybe it will help us all help each other… I have heard that the studios haven’t provided much data yet, but I don’t know if that’s true across the board or only for the bigger films. Regardless, I feel rewarded by the little bit I can do…


I was feeling pretty down this morning. We’ve worked so hard the last month. We come up for air for a few days, look around and start to wonder, “Was it worth it?” — The frenzy, the exhaustion? Did we save ourselves from COVID?

It’s hard to know.

I do know that in my more rested moments, when I have clarity, I can answer, yes. It was worth it — even if only to build relationships and learn intricate details of the content delivery process I never would have understood if not for this intense whirlwind.

I am still weighing how far I want to take our streaming platform. I am meeting with a couple more platforms this week to try to get clarity on whether we migrate to an end-to-end solution, swap out pieces, or continue with what we have.

Flaws in the current solution:

  • Updating the 48 hour locks is currently a manual nightly task
  • Lack of TV apps
  • Need ability to auto-add affiliates. (Will be added this week.)
  • Can’t currently auto-add new films.
  • Lacks auto reporting to partners. (Will be added this week.)
  • Needs updates to the user-interface & website layout (can be done)
  • Need to work on my email MX records so emails don’t get caught in spam
  • Drop-down for selecting theaters is not scalable past ~50 theaters/partners

Things that ARE working:

  • transparency in reporting to partners (theaters, festivals, organizations)
  • control over all payment & customer data
  • payouts received daily from payment processor
  • can make regular payments to partners due to availability of funds
  • immediate feedback on marketing campaigns (we know if they’re working)
  • endlessly flexible and extendable platform — can add features as needed
  • JW Player is actually working very well for desktop streaming and casting
  • with recent platform updates, the support requests are down to ~2% of customers

The glaring issues are still lack of TV apps and key automation which allows scaling. I’m not yet sure if those things are worth tackling. We have a couple more events coming up in the next few weeks, and then we will experiment with adding another film. At that point, we will have more info.

The real strength of the platform is our ability to support and provide transparency to partners. I’d like to continue that focus with whatever we do — facilitating the relationship between curator, audience, and artist.

♡ Annie


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