Monday, February 1, 2010

Releasing on Digital Platforms - First Samplings

Thomas Mai of Festival Darlings who is hosting a conference in Berlin on crowd sourcing says that a filmmaker can expect to make between $50 - $1000 per month per platform (some more, some less).  If there are also social media campaigns, this number can increase a lot. A release should go to about 25 -40 platforms, including iTunes/ Amazon/ NetFlix/ Hulu etc. Making a digital master is not expensive, but each platform uses its own format so a filmmaker might need to come up with 12-15 different format versions which can cost about $500 each. The master should cost around $1200-$1500. 

To book a place at "Dawn of The Micro Major Film Producer: Everything you want to know about VOD and Crowdfunding"" on 16 February at 09:00 until 1:00 at the Ritz Carlton in Berlin, click here.

Thomas has come a long way as has film itself since he began at the onset of Lars Von Trier's company Trust when Von Trier was calling the shots for indie filmmakers with his Dogma 95 rules of filmmaking. He has since sold his international sales company to Nordisk and Thomas has moved on as the only European international sales agent (perhaps with the exception of Celluloid Dreams) to fully embrace the digital technology as the answer to the crisis faced by international sales and distribution.

The quick and dirty on Sundance film's Bass Ackwards which went on You Tube during the festival for a limited time per producer Gil Holland:  Going the web route is possible for them because the film only cost $30,000 to make. The YouTube experiment is a first for the festival – a half-dozen current and former Sundance entries are being promoted on the video services front page for full download.

By the second day of the festival, “Bass Ackwards” had 289 downloads, Holland said – generating about $600 for the filmmakers. “That’s about 2 percent of our shooting budget.” said the producer.

So the first experiment has occurred but in my opinion, the "experts" are being too quick to predict results!  See the report below:

UPDATE: NewTeeVee has this report on the You Tube experiment:

Written by Ryan Lawler
Posted Monday, January 25, 2010 at 4:39 PM PT
YouTube Users Pass on Paying for Movies

Indie filmmakers looking to YouTube as a possible new distribution outlet might want to think twice, based on weekend returns from the video site’s new movie rental service. Last week, the online video site teamed up with the Sundance Film Festival to make a small selection of critically acclaimed full-length films available for rent for 48 hours.

But, despite a post on the YouTube blog and pickup from various tech blogs, very few users have actually taken YouTube up on the offer. Based on a quick look through the movies that were made available, it appears that YouTube viewers rented the five films less than 1,500 times in total, or an average of 300 times each. At $3.99 a piece, that means the indie films generated less than $6,000 in total sales over the course of the weekend, or about $1,200 per movie — and that’s before YouTube took its cut for hosting the files.

Video Views:

Bass Ackwards 308
Homewrecker 308
The Cove 303
Children of Invention 301
One Too Many Mornings 250

That’s bad news for the films involved, and could be bad news for YouTube, which is looking for new ways to monetize videos through sales and rentals. While the films are independently produced and haven’t generated the same amount of buzz as some Hollywood blockbusters, the low view counts are surprising, given the buzz before the film festival and prominent “featured” placement from YouTube.

The good news for YouTube is that it’s still expected to become profitable this year. In a recent research note, Barclay’s Capital analyst Doug Anmuth suggested that YouTube would add to Google’s bottom line for the first time in 2010, with revenues growing more than 55 percent year-over-year to $700 million.

1 comment:

  1. In the world of books, more and more are self published and self promoted only to be picked up by publishers when sales reach a level indicative of the potential scale necessary to justify a traditional release.

    It will be interesting to see if a similar scenario will dominate the world of indie online releases or if this will discourage traditional releases (due in part to potential piracy).

    And even if traditional releases must be foregone in order to pursue online digital releases, it will be interesting to see how new media distribution models fare in the coming year.

    This is a great, but turbulent time for the independent filmmaker.