As we transition into the digital release of Phoenix, Oregon, the film will be available on all of the TVOD (transactional) streaming platforms such as iTunes, Google Play, Direct TV and Amazon. Later in the fall, it will be available on subscription (SVOD) and advertising (AVOD) services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu and Tubi.
Our distributor has agreements in place with most of the TVOD platforms to take the film by June 1. It will be available for pre-orders a few weeks before. Apparently, if we get 500–700 pre-orders on iTunes, we will be “top of category” and qualify for better page placements. Soon we will start pushing fans towards that pre-order campaign.
The distributor is working on SVOD deals, but we won’t know which platforms will pick up the film for a couple months. The goal is to capture revenue through TVOD before moving to the other services where we receive flat fees but no ongoing revenue.
In parallel with all of the above platforms, we will continue to sell the film on our own platform. A key feature is our new affiliate program which we will continue to use for providing transparency and real-time sales and customer data to new partners.
We could have partners and influencers push the film to buy on iTunes and other TVOD platforms, but then we do not control the revenue or customer data directly. We have little or no visibility into whether a marketing campaign is or isn’t working, since these larger platforms do not usually supply results to indies for 3–6 months. The lack of real-time info is absolutely incredible and unlike any other industry. It makes marketing and A/B testing nearly impossible. There is no way to know if a campaign is successful until several months, so it is impossible to test ad spends and strategies in real-time. This is one thing we are trying to solve by having our own sales platform and working with partners to expand our marketing reach.
We definitely do want to be on all those other platforms as well, because that’s where customers buy the most volume.
I haven’t finished activating our sales portal for all of our theaters yet since it takes time to add them, and I am still testing as I go. I will finish that tomorrow when I send out the weekly theater sales reports.
We’ve received good feedback from several theaters that we were the first to pay out of all the studios. We also had the highest performing film at several cinemas.
This weekend, we are demoing a new video platform which has native TV app capabilities. Moving to a pre-built software platform is one option for scaling instead of continuing to develop our own platform. I’m glad I built this platform even if only to test the functionality that I would like from a larger platform. My biggest limitation is providing the seemless viewing experience from desktop to TV. But I love the flexibility of our current payment processing, reporting, and affiliate functionality. That may be hard to replace if we move to a more vanilla system, although there may be ways to create integrations to allow for all needs to be met.
On the virtual happy hour with the Oregon film community this afternoon, I learned about the work that Eventive has done to quickly create an online streaming platform for festivals and cinemas. They already had the ticketing, payment processing and partner network in place, so it was a natural pivot. The platform seems to do a lot of what we’ve been talking about and also (amazingly) has the TV apps ready to go. I haven’t had a chance to test out the admin interface yet, but it seems like a good platform to recommend in the future to other filmmakers as they take ownership for the distribution and marketing of their films.
There will be so many new models, companies, strategies and platforms to come out of this time in history. Eventive most likely wouldn’t have created their new service without the pressure of COVID. Studios and cinemas are scrambling for new outlets to show content, and new models and platforms are being crafted each week to meet the needs and offer solutions.