Distrify is a suite of online tools that empowers all stakeholders in the film production & distribution value chain, enabling more effective sharing and easier monetisation of content.
Here’s what’s new on-demand this week from our wicked indie filmmakers.
The Poisoning from film director Zachary Eglinton - Three men travel across the country and encounter a hitchhiker that turns their world upside down. A maddening hell ride and a race for survival ensue.
Let’s Ruin It With Babies from film director Kestrin Pantera - Channing has it all: a beautiful home, a rock star lifestyle, and a loving husband intent on ruining it all by knocking her up.
Loves Her Gun from film director Geoff Marslett - A romantic tragedy about a young woman who flees violence in New York for the laid back environment in central Texas.
Football Undercover from German filmmakers David Assmann and Ayat Najafi - An amateur female soccer team from Berlin goes on a nerve-wracking journey trying to carry out the first female soccer match in the history of Iran.
Dead Bigfoot from film director Ro Sahebi - In October of 2010, 2 young hunters shot a 7 foot tall animal they could not identify. It stood upright and walked like a man.
Distrify makes it easy for people to start talking about your film online when they watch your trailer. Use the sharing tools in the video player, or copy and paste the embed code or URL, it automatically includes a unique code that tracks your sharing. Any sales generated from your sharing qualify for the affiliate revenue-share programme.
"Pay It Forward works as a gift economy. When a viewer watches a film and finds that they would like to share with others, they can pay a small fee and send the link to somebody else in the form of a voucher"
Wrapping up an exciting week at at IDFA, we’ve announced a unique film-gifting opportunity, Pay-it-Forward, which allows users to buy films for friends or strangers. This innovative feature is a continuation of the online distributor’s ‘portable fundraiser’ project – a collaboration with Scottish Documentary Institute with backing from Nesta.
The film gifting offer will be launched with the online release of FUTURE MY LOVE, directed by the Swedish award-winning artist and film director, Maja Borg.
Developed in close partnership with Scottish Documentary Institute, the new Pay It Forward concept works as a gift economy. When a viewer watches a film and finds that they would like to share with others, they can pay a small fee and send the link to somebody else in the form of a voucher. Viewers may buy for one or more people, or even an open invitation for viewers around the world to see the film if the ‘giver’ feels it is a film that should be shared and seen by many. This allows a film to be seen on a much wider release and greater exposure than otherwise, generating word of mouth.
The Pay-It-Forward concept reflects ‘big thinking’ themes explored in FUTURE MY LOVE, which considers an alternative culture to the current buy-and-consume economic system. Inher documentary, Borg goes to a retreat in Florida run by social theorist Jacque Fresco seeking for solutions to unhappiness and invites us to look at our relationship with the economy as a human relationship and consider how we might live differently by adopting futurist and radical ideals based around sharing resources and abandoning money. FUTURE MY LOVE has received by film critics.
This is the first time the Pay-it-Forward concept has been used for film distribution. We are excited about all the possibilities for filmmakers to increase awareness and reach for their films. Often film-fans want to share their love of a film by asking others to watch it, and thanks to the new Pay-it-Forward function, they can give the film to anyone, even people they don’t know.
This kind of distribution will be particularly useful for documentary films related to a campaign or issue where the fans want to spread the film’s message as widely as possible. Through genuine generosity, anyone can sponsor another viewer’s chance to watch a film.
Ben Kempas, Producer of Marketing and Distribution at the Scottish Documentary Institute adds, “Our film FUTURE MY LOVE features ideas for a world without money. But it has been produced under the current economic system. So how can you release it and still take a step towards the film’s ideals? That’s why we decided to create our own gift economy. Believing in giving feels much better than simply begging others to buy something.
"We first used the joint ‘Portable Fundraiser’ development with Distrify on our hugely successful documentary I AM BREATHING, with a sliding-scale interface enabling community screenings and top-up donations right in the player. We’re very excited to enter a more experimental phase now, trying to distribute a film through the power of gifting it to others – friends and strangers alike.”
Distrify co-founder Peter Gerard has been named as one of the most influential, innovative and interesting people in the creative and media industries as part of the h.Club100 award presented by The Hospital Club in association with Guardian Culture Professionals Network and the British Council.
On Monday, the British Council announced the ten winners of the h.Club100 Creative Entrepreneur category. These are up and coming entrepreneurs who show talent, edginess and entrepreneurial spirit – a small snapshot of the UK’s creative industries from music to fashion, design, TV, publishing and more. Five of the winners have also won an overseas trip to expand their networks and share their knowledge abroad.
"The Creative Entrepreneur award from British Council and the h.Club 100 list are great recognition of the innovative work that our team at Distrify has been doing," says Peter Gerard. "We are dedicated to providing unique solutions to issues faced by a changing film industry and I am grateful for this prestigious recognition of our hard work."
Via an open call out for new creative businesses, the ten were selected and then invited to interview to select five individuals for the trip. Peter Gerard has been selected for the trip to Nigeria – a unique week of networking and inspiration – meeting other innovators working in creative industries in some of the fastest growing markets in the world.
"Distrify is one of the only VOD companies contributing real revenue to the Nollywood industry," says Peter Gerard. "Our social film sales technology is a perfect fit for the Nigerian filmmaking community, who have demonstrated a fantastic adeptness with modern technology, particularly social media and ecommerce. The opportunity to travel to Nigeria with British Council will be a great way for us to meet and collaborate with Nigerian filmmakers and tech innovators."
The judging panel comprised of Patrick McKenna (CEO Ingenious), Sue Walter (CEO The Hospital Club) and Beatrice Pembroke (Director, British Council Creative Economy).
Beatrice Pembroke, Director, Creative Economy, British Council, said: “A key part of our work is spotting emerging new trends in the creative industry to share with our network around the world. We think all the winners in the category demonstrate the experimentation and quality of creative innovation in the UK – so well we have broken our own rules and chosen five of them to represent overseas. We look forward to taking them to meet creative entrepreneurs in Brazil and Nigeria so they can share ideas, develop their networks and be inspired.”
Patrick McKenna, CEO Ingenious, said: “It was a pleasure meeting the creative entrepreneurs and I was really impressed with the vision and ambition of the businesses they are leading. I think the work the British Council does to support up and coming creative businesses overseas is very important and this programme is an excellent opportunity for these young people to internationalise their outlook and showcase UK creativity abroad.”
Sue Walter, CEO The Hospital Club said, “We are delighted to be working with the British Council on the Creative Entrepreneurs category of the h.Club100, our list to identify the most innovative people working in the Creative industries in 2013. One of the overall aims of the Hospital Club is to support emerging talent, and it’s been a privilege to meet so many talented young businesses through this programme. We very much look forward to seeing more of them in future.”
There are endless options to create an internet site for a film, but it’s best to stick to some basic principles regarding the site’s logical structure. As a rule of thumb, we advise you to make your movie site simple. A film or a movie is like a product and the internet site built for it is practically a site for one product. In a world where internet sites are dedicated to thousands of products, to large companies, to themes, communities, cities or political parties, a site dedicated to a film should be proportional - i.e. simple.
We recommend 10 sections which are a good structure for creating a site for your film using the Distrify player.
Menus and sections - the site should contain the following menu or sections as a baseline:
1. Homepage, Place the Distrify player always at the top of the page on your home page. The player should be embedded at an optimum size of at least 640x392. Below the player, include SHORT information about the film (could be a tag line), any laurels from festivals you’ve won, and links (preferably small banners) to follow you and your film on social media sites.
Note: The still image you choose for your trailer is one of the most important marketing tools for your film. Think about it as your key art or film poster - if you choose a random image, most chances are that it won’t attract enough attention, but choosing the right image can make a huge difference. This image will serve your film later on when people will share the player on their Facebook and other social media, this is where the player stands on its own. So filmmakers, don’t be lazy, take your time and choose that kick ass image! (To upload a new still image simply go to the preview videos on Distrify and click the pencil icon to edit)
Also consider adding a short description how to rent or buy your film, yes much like airlines insist on showing how to buckle up, the same goes with people on the Internet, they need step by step guidance. So add this at the top of the Distrify player: You can rent or download “movie title” online, anywhere in the world. Click the green button to rent and the purple button to download or buy a DVD. If you rent, the film will be available to watch immediately, and you’ll have 30 days to pause and resume viewing your rental.
If you wish to get your fans to act as your affiliate partner, add this: “You can also embed this video window in your website or blog, and earn a commission every time someone watches it on your site or from a link you send out. Click the “share” button in the video window for details”
2. About page, with a more detailed description of the film. Could be the synopsis you use for film festivals submissions.
3. Filmmakers page - about you, the films you made, where you studied (if you think it’s relevant) and any additional information that might be pertinent. For example, if the film is about disabled children and is based on your own experience as an instructor or therapist, consider adding those details. Also consider the possibility of adding a Director’s Statement, in which you explain what made you do this film and how it affected your life etc. People like to read those things - it gives them another perspective on the film and you as a filmmaker.
4. Credits - mention and thank all the people and organizations without which the film could not have been completed.
5. Screenings and Events - let your site visitors know where the next screening is taking place. You should also update your screenings list in your Distrify player. It is also a good habit to include the history of screenings, especially in film festivals. It makes an impression and adds to the site content. Remember - the richer the content (especially TEXT) - the highest you’ll get on search engines. You should also consider adding the option of requesting or organizing a community screening.
6. Galleries - picture and video gallery are not a must but they add to the overall user experience. If you have a video gallery, choose 3-4 scenes from the film. Also consider adding a 1-2 scenes which were not included in the final edit. If there’s an interview with you as the filmmaker- add it to the video gallery. It’s a good idea to add the interview to the filmmaker’s page. In picture galleries, it’s important to add pictures from the production process, either behind the scenes pictures of the protagonists or pictures of you and the crew. Like the director’s statement, people like to know more about the film. If you are using YouTube for any of these video clips, make sure you add link annotations on the video so people watching on YouTube can immediately click and go back to your website. You should also consider making some of these videos exclusively available to people who sign up to your mailing list – to do this, simply upload them to Distrify and instead of setting a price, mark them as “Free - Email for Media”.
7. Press - in addition to what was written about the film in newspapers and magazines, consider adding citations from other sites, especially blogs. Blogs have become in some cases more powerful and influential than the traditional media. By ‘Press’ we also mean of course audio recordings, podcasts and videos of all kinds.
8. Buy the Movie - probably one of the most important pages in your site and might be the reason you created the site in the first place. Consider to add a “Watch” tab instead of shop, here you should offer all options how to buy your film, streaming, DVD, and more products like t-shirts and posters if you’re thinking of offering them to your audience. If you’re selling everything via your Distrify player, this page will be very similar to your homepage. Check the Lucia homepage.
9. Contact - could be a form or an e-mail or both. A form gives you the opportunity to let your fans and the press to contact directly without giving away your personal e-mail. For some people, it’s important.
10. Blog and/or forum - those 2 mechanisms are easy to install (technically) and are very powerful, you should invest in writing and relating to other people’s comments whenever you have an exciting event to announce. Take a look at filmmaker Pawan Kumar’s blog.
BTW - *Soon we will have some exciting news for you on a new website and player offer.
See below a selection of film websites using the Distrify player we really dig:
In case you haven’t noticed our excitement over on Facebook, the hype around Pawan Kumar’s film LUCIA is really starting to pay off. Lucia is the first Kannada-language film made with crowd-funding, and it’s also the first film crowd-funded via Distrify.
And while we’re talking about firsts, Pawan has worked with us to pioneer an innovative approach to our affiliate program. I’ve blogged about it before, so I highly recommend reading about how the crowd-funders for Lucia are actually online distributors.
Oh yeah, and have you seen the trailer? It’s like a rom-com version of Inception with lots of song and dance!
Lucia opened in theatres in India at the start of September and earned more than its production budget (about $90k) in the opening weekend! It hasn’t stopped there and is still pleasing audiences all over the world’s second most populous country. Nice result for a completely crowd-funded, independently released film!
Finally about a week ago, Pawan unleashed a throng of 1,200+ online distributors, making Lucia available to rent anywhere outside of India. Now that Lucia has been out in the wild a little bit, I’d like to share some numbers. Lucia was made available to rent outside India (its primary market) on Friday 27th September 2013. I’m writing this article on its tenth day of online sales.
Just a quick bit of background: Distrify processed around $40,000 worth of online pre-orders for Lucia prior to its theatrical release. These pre-orders came from the 1,200 online distributors who participated in the second crowd-funding campaign.
We’ve tracked sales referred by 428 different affiliates, each earning between 20% and 75% of each sale they refer. The affiliates’ share of revenue so far is around $5,300.
Lucia’s top affiliate has referred more than half of these sales, earning himself over $1,000 in the last ten days. He has set up a really cool dedicated fan-website for Lucia (this is NOT the film’s official site - it’s a fan site!).
Pawan has been regularly communicating with his supporters and has done a lot of work to help people understand how to be an online distributor. Check out this video he made to help people step through the whole process:
Online rentals so far
With over $22,000 of purchases in the last ten days, we’ve now clocked over $62,000 in gross online rentals for Lucia, including the pre-orders.
These are early numbers, and we’ll be reporting back regularly, especially once we can allow purchases in India. Pawan has been completely transparent about the whole process since the he came up with the idea for Lucia. He regularly posts sales updates and other interesting stuff on his Facebook page - it’s worth following. And of course, the movie is worth watching to - we all loved it - and it won the audience award at London Indian Film Festival in July.
What do you think? Please let us know what you think about fans-selling-to-fans in the comments.
A very well known UK film critic once had a go at me for distributing what he felt were awful films. He blamed Guerilla Films for giving the British film industry a bad name. For 15 years all Guerilla released were British & Irish films and a good many of them would not have been distributed if it were not for me. This observation was from a man who had spent much of his life pulling apart the imaginative work of others and who never once attempted anything creative himself, unless writing in a newspaper is creative?
The interesting observation that I have made in all these years is that I have never come across a film that has been 100% lionised or 100% slated. Every film has people who like it, people who hate it and people who don’t think much either way.
BLADE RUNNER, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, CITIZEN KANE, STAR WARS, THE WARRIORS etc, are just a few films that received bad reviews when they opened in UK cinemas.
I have now released over 100 films in the last 15 years and there are really only six I think retrospectively I had wish I had passed on. Five of them were solely because of the people involved who had such very high expectations of their films that even if a Major had released them they could have not delivered the career advancement the filmmakers wanted. They did blame me for the reason their Hollywood lifestyle never materialised. Thus working with them was trying, to put it mildly.
Therefore only one film out of 100 was, in my opinion, poor, but even that film did have one or two good reviews and it found an audience, albeit a small one, but still some people enjoyed it.
Anyone who attempts to make a film is taking a very brave step putting themselves on the line in so many ways. I have tried to use my skills and contacts to help them get the film out there. This is what I love about my role as Chairman of Distrify. We can assist any filmmaker to make their production available for worldwide consumption without any barriers of curation and selection. For the first time in history the internet has allowed all filmmakers to be equal!
How wonderful at my age to be part of something so revolutionary that can help the small guy (and woman). Already a few films using our tools have gone into profit solely from the online income. Admittedly these were very small budget productions but in time the return from online will be greater than any other income stream.
Viva la revolution!
David Nicholas Wilkinson is founder and chairman of the UK distribution company Guerilla Films and chairman of the board at Distrify.
FindAnyFilm has announced the addition of Distrify titles to its website, the easy-to-use gateway to legitimate film, TV and video services. This comes as Distrify, which has been at the forefront of the industry in offering direct-to-audience distribution becomes the first in a host of legal independent film providers to take advantage of the site’s unique proposition for consumers.
FindAnyFilm.com aggregates film availability across all formats, allowing UK-based film fans to search for titles across localised cinema listings, comprehensive DVD and Blu-Ray releases and an ever growing range of digital download and streaming services enabling consumers to watch at the push of a button. With search results ranked by price, the site is designed to tackle the key driving factors of piracy: affordability, availability and convenience.
FindAnyFilm continues to play a key part in the Industry Trust’s consumer education campaigns, by providing a one stop shop of legitimate places for consumers to find film availability in the UK. Films from Distrify will provide a greater range of choice on FindAnyFilm.com, ensuring that consumers’ tastes are catered for as the site continues to provide quick and easy access to legal content.
Distrify work with more than 100 distributors in the UK and internationally, connecting a network of more than 350 million people with a range of independent and world cinema. By working closely with distributors Distrify aims to create a tailored online distribution method that compliments each film release. This includes the day-and-date release of Sarah Polley’s acclaimed film, “Stories We Tell”, which was sold direct to fans via Distrify powered premiere on The Guardian website, as well as the Led Zepplin: Celebration Day concert film which was cinema tickets from the Led Zeppelin website. By partnering with FindAnyFilm, Distrify will continue to extend and amplify the reach of its content to audiences in the UK.
Mark de Quervain, Partnerships Director of FindAnyFilm said, “We know that our audiences are hungry for content and it’s wonderful to be able to give them such variety in film choice. With so many more films released across a year than ever before – from those huge blockbusters to the artful independents – it’s through integrations with sites such as Distrify that we can continue to remain relevant to audiences. The beauty of FindAnyFilm.com is that you can find it all in one place and you know it’s all above board - helping to combat another key driver of copyright infringement.”
Andy Green and Peter Gerard, founders of Distrify said, “We’re very happy to partner with FindAnyFilm.com and the Industry Trust, as supporters of the important consumer educational work carried out by the industry. The Distrify player has been developed to share film legally and through this partnership we can strengthen the ways audiences can buy and share films they love and value.”
We’re celebrating Indian Independence Day with our great friend Pawan Kumar - probably the most innovative independent filmmaker out there. His latest film, Lucia, was entirely crowd-funded - a first for a Kannada-language film and a first for Distrify. We have been assisting with his crowd-funding in the form of selling pre-orders through the Distrify player.
The crowd-funding perk for a pre-order of Lucia is truly revolutionary - by pre-buying the film via Distrify you are earning yourself a greater slice of affiliate revenue when you share the film later on. The top-level purchase gets you a 75% affiliate cut. This means that when Lucia is available and you’re tweeting about it, you get 75% of every sale you refer. Effectively this means you can pre-buy non-exclusive distribution rights as a Distrify affiliate. There are already more than a thousand people bought in, which has funded the upcoming theatrical release of Lucia in India. Check out Pawan’s website or Facebook feed for lots of updates on how this project has been going.
Beyond the truly revolutionary fund-raising and distribution that’s going on here, Lucia is really an amazing film - it has an intelligent storyline full of twists, clever humour, and catchy music. Half the Distrify team attended the world premiere in London last month, and we all loved Lucia.
We will be writing a lot more about this project in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to the Distrify blog as well.
Today is the last day pre-orders will be available - grab your pre-order now!
Do you want to offer extra features, behind-the-scenes, director interviews, deleted scenes or other extra clips along with your film rental?
Including these extra materials is a great way to add value to a film rental online. Distrify has always offered an easy way for customers to watch a range of videos with one purchase. You can even offer the film on its own at one price and a deluxe edition at another price. Once a customer pays for a deluxe edition, the film and the extras are all unlocked and appear in an easy to use menu within your Distrify player.
You can even mix and match streaming rentals, downloadable files and merchandise into one payment.
To help you get started with package products, we’ve recorded this how-to video. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Note: You’ll need to upgrade to the Pro plan to begin creating package products.
Distrify, the world leader in direct to audience video-on-demand, announces an exclusive deal with Butterfly Media which extends its reach offering for pay-per-view video content via Facebook to a network of 300 million users worldwide.
The deal, which will see Distrify’s cinematic content reach 10,000 pages, potentially reaching one in four of all Facebook users every month via the online social media platform, makes it the exclusive provider to Butterfly Media of films and other video content on a VOD pay-per-view basis.
Butterfly Media runs a global engagement network over Facebook with more than 300 million engaged users and millions of active story-tellers at all times. The new partnership with Distrify will now deliver the company’s VOD digital content and merchandise through to this huge network of highly active social media users.
Andy Green, COO and Founder of Distrify, says, “The best movies segmented by page with use of Distrify data and Butterfly data delivered to this highly engaged audience - this is a very, very big offer, a real game changer. Distrify already gives filmmakers and distributors the best opportunity on offer to maximise profits and this exclusive partnership will expand, focus and multiply their revenues.”
Butterfly Media offers a network of social media pages where network brands and advertisers can engage quality fans and create loyalty and buzz, as well as generate sales -leading to sustained social media attention, traffic and loyalty. Through the partnership with Butterfly Media, Distrify will place highly relevant films to targeted audiences through their likes, interests and activities. Up to 300 million users every month will see films directly through their news feed and be able to purchase them immediately.
Omri Dolev, CEO at Butterfly Media adds, “We founded Butterfly Media for the purpose of creating high user engagement and offering valuable content. We believe that matching video content to the relevant audience via the Butterfly Media network creates great awareness across social media platforms and user loyalty. We are very excited about this partnership and the opportunities it offers our business and our users worldwide.”
Kobi Shely, Head of Marketing Partnerships at Distrify says, “I’m very excited about our partnership with Butterfly Media. We are the number one provider of films via Facebook and the highly engaged audience that Butterfly Media reaches is already sharing and buying our films around the world. This deal will massively increase the choice of films available to everyone.”
Distrify is the fast-growing online cinema with integrated viral marketing tools offering filmmakers and distributors the opportunity to reach audiences worldwide and the world leader in direct-to-fan transactional video on demand.
The company already works with the biggest players in the film industry and social media working including the BFI, Artificial Eye, The Guardian, worldwide music film distributor Omnivers, and Creative Scotland.
The Distrify model turns every trailer for a film into an instant VoD player allowing the customer on discovering a film to click ‘rent’ or ‘buy’. Film fans are rewarded for sharing trailers with their contacts and film critics, online publishers and film fans are able to curate their favourite film collections and earn money for their efforts. Not only does Distrify offer international distribution, but it also ensures that the majority of the revenue earned back by films is passed back to the filmmaker.