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7 Indie Film Digital Distribution Companies You Can Submit to Online

I’m looking for a way to distribute my film Zedic and the Crimson Born for viewing online. I am going to explore 7 options and make notes in this post. I could just put it on YouTube but before I do, I would rather find a distribution solution that could do one of the following:

1. Offer a way for people to donate or pay to see the film. Its a short so I would be happy with $1 per view.

2. Provide a “content locking” solution where a viewer would complete a survey or view an ad to see the film and I am paid by the advertiser. I really do not want to deal with YouTube’s random monetization approval.

3. A distributor that offers the film some exclusivity and privacy. This is really a pilot for a feature, so I’m not looking to open it up to the general public – just people who know me and my music, and maybe some heavy duty sci-fi enthusiasts…

4. Provide an existing user-base of independent film fans and discovery engines where my film could be found by indie scfi-fi buffs.

So here we go, I am going to try each of these and let you know how it goes:

IndieFlix.com

IndieFlix is a new media indie film distributor and a community for filmmakers and fans. You can go directly to the film submission page here.

To qualify for submission your film needs to have at least been selected for a festival. You need to submit a DVD screener to them by mail, even if you get accepted through Without a Box.

Status: I submitted my online screener through Without a Box and I will update this post to let you know how it goes.

Distribber.com

This service allows filmmakers to distribute through iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and Cable VOD. They only accept feature length films.

You need to pay a set up fee for this service but you keep 100% of the revenues. 

iTunes: $1295 plus $79 a year

Amazon VOD: $95

Netflix Watch Instantly: $595

Filmmaker Direct (Cable/Satellite/Telco VOD): Submission is $249, $5000 if you film is accepted

Status: These fees are too high for me. But if you have a budget for a feature, I think it is incredible that you can be nationally distributed for under $10K and producers keep all revenue.

Vodo.net

Producers can distribute their film for free on Vodo via a network of P2P file sharing sites. Down-loaders watch for free.

Vodo then offers sponsorship opportunities to people who like the film. Vodo also offers a 50/50 split on syndication to cable/satellite TV and streaming services.

Click here for the direct link to sign up as a publisher and submit your film.

Status: I registered and submitted my film for approval. The submission form only asked for film title and a website.

Update: I got rejected because Vodo only accepts shorts 10 minutes and longer so they do not “compete with other file hosting sites”. That makes sense because YouTube does *not* accept videos 10 minutes and longer. 

SnagFilms.com

Focuses on bringing on-demand independent films to fans for free. Advocates of indie filmmakers and active in the film community. Shares ad revenue with producers.

They prefer submission via Without a Box and it is free to submit! Click here to go directly to the submission page. They have minimal acceptance criteria so approval is likely based on the quality of the film.

Status: I submitted via Without a Box.

Distrify.com

You embed their player on your facebook page, blog or website. Users can buy a stream or download right from the player. So people see your trailer and they can immediately purchase a view of your film.

It’s free to sign up and add 1 film! Just click here. Then filmmakers earn 70% of all revenues.

Now this sounds cool.

Status: I signed-up and uploaded my trailer. First the trailer was processed and they sent me an email. Next I uploaded the entire short – my 8 minute film took about 30 minutes to upload. After a while it was processed and I set the price at the minimum of $.99 cents. Here is the real live player!!

Updates: I also did a test purchase on the Distrify player. The payment processing and streaming player are both excellent.

I logged in and found that I actually have a few rentals! The Distrify dashboard shows your preview to rental conversion rate and right now it is about 3%.

DynamoPlayer.com

An embeddable player like Distrify that offers viewer the ability to pay for viewing using PayPal. Its like a YouTube player and you can put it anywhere so there is no software involved.

The DynamoPlayer is also a free to set up solution! Producers keep 70%. I like it, let’s see how it works : )

Status: Bummer, their Java-based up-loader does not work on any of my browsers. I’ll try again later and then send a note to support.

EggUp.com

This is another media player type option with a twist. You mail the company your DVD for processing  and a “.Egg” file is created. Then when viewers pay, your .Egg can be streamed or downloaded on the desktop, iPhone or iPad. Read EggUP: A DIY Indie Film Distribution Platform for more info.

The .Egg file is self-contained but secure so you can send it anywhere and you don’t have to be concerned with piracy.

As a final step you would use the EggUp paypal widgets on your website or blog to actually sell the .Egg file.

Status: I’m already set-up with Distrify so I think I’ll pass on sending in a DVD. But this looks like a good alternative used by many filmmakers.

Conclusion

Well obviously Distrify gave me an immediate solution for providing semi-private and secure access to the film. The next step will be creating a marketing plan that actually drives digital streams from the player.

Since this post my film Zedic was screened at the New Filmmakers festival in NYC (which was very exciting) and I discovered that they have a service for private online screening and submission to distributors at NewFilmmakersOnline.com.

I didn’t find any great ad “content-locking” solutions though I did learn that BlamAds is probably one of the best options for that.

Hopefully IndieFlix, Vodo or SnagFilms will work out as a way to offer the film to a community of existing music indie film viewers.

My next step for “Zedic & the Crimson Born” is to package up a proposal for a feature film to pitch to co-producers and investors. For the full length version I will explore a much wider range of distribution deals : )

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