How to distribute your film?
As you know, its not easy to get a film distribution deal. And when you are one of the few ones that gets one, you probably have to sign exclusive agreements that block your rights for several years and content yourself with â€œminimalisticâ€ guarantee or small royalty payouts, thinking it is better to have a small piece of the big pie, than nothing at all (see an article here that describes a typical deal at iTunes). Sometimes it is. But for all the others who donâ€™t get distribution deals, or who never saw a dime from their distributor, or who have some distribution deals in place, but want to expand their distribution to new media and the rest of the world, they need to look for other distribution opportunities.
filmbinder provides a non-exclusive multipurpose Video On Demand (VOD) platform that helps you showcase and distribute your film. No need to know anything about programming or to spend thousands of dollars on web developers and wait months if not years to see your website. With filmbinder you have a one stop solution, where design, encoding, hosting, steaming and payment are already figured out for you. Within minutes you can have your own film website with integrated Pay Per View solution, that enables you to offer VOD over the web. You have total control of your distribution. You keep all your rights. You keep all 100% revenues. You set the rental price and the rental period. You can geo-block territories, if you want. You can also use filmbinder to seek financing and send out free screeners. And we list your films in our film catalog to bring you additional traffic.
When it comes to online distribution, itâ€™s all about building traffic. On filmbinder, filmmakers get one rental out of every 90 visits, or make $1 every 37 visits, on average. So if you want to increase your revenues, you need to increase your traffic. On this page we have summarized information that can help you with Online Video Distribution, Video Search Engine Optimization (Video SEO), and Video Marketing. A lot of these recommendations are already automatically taken care of when using filmbinder as your VOD solution.
For online video distribution, the most important is film content, file format, trailer, poster, description with relevant keywords, and incoming links from pages relevant to your audience (such as festivals, social networks, blogs, etc.).
If you expect some return on your investment, you need to produce films that people want to see. Good story and strong acting trump all other aspects such as camera format, surround sound, language, etc. It's best to make films about things one is not only knowledgable but also passionate about. Content is king. Assuming your content is well produced, the next biggest hurdle is reaching your audience. It always helps to identify your potential audience before you decide to create your content.
Itâ€™s amazing to see how many filmmakers do not have a website for their film. They spend tens of thousand, and sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars to make films, but donâ€™t put any effort in promoting their films.
A website is better than a business card or a one sheet. Not only does it help you interact with people, but you can also promote and monetize your work. You should have one early in the game, as it will serve you well though all stages of production. Already in pre-production a website can help you when looking for financing or when searching for your cast and crew, to show your ideas and get people excited. During production and post-production you can use it to share takes and edits with your cast and crew. And of course once the film is made, it helps you to get your content out there, and start earning revenues.
With filmbinder you get your own website for your film with lots of useful features. You can upload your film and your trailer and share it with others. You can list credits, show backstage footage in your stills gallery, add festivals, and blog about your film. If your film is not ready for distribution yet, you can use your website to collect donations. No need to burn DVDs, stand in line at the postal office, and lose time on delivery. You can easily distribute your website link over emails, through your social network, or by using our free passes feature that gives your feedback on who actually viewed your film, and reach out to media, festivals, festival visitors, distributers, studios, colleagues, friends, family, and last but not least, paying customers, since with the integrated pay per view solution, you can rent out your film. All payments go straight to your PayPal account.
When you distribute your film and trailer over the Internet, you need to make sure that they are encoded to the right format. Otherwise people might encounter poor film quality or long buffer periods. The streaming experience depends on the file size of your film, the settings that have been used to encode your film, and on the different browsers, players, and internet connections that people use. The trick is to reduce the file size of your film without loosing too much quality.
With filmbinder your film will play in all popular browsers, iPhone, iPad, and Goggle TV. Using our encoding standards you can reduce a film of 3 hours, to a file size of 2 GB, and still stream in DVD quality. You can encode and upload your films and trailers for free. Please follow our tutorial How to encode your film. Or you can just mail us a DVD and we will handle it for you.
A poster is the best way to grab peoples attention. People rather click on thumbnails, than on links. And posters are what people see first, when they visit a film catalog. So if your film is listed without a poster and just a placeholder image, you will loose traffic to other films that have a poster. If you donâ€™t have time to make a good poster, you can always take a good screenshot of a scene in your film.
With filmbinder you can upload a poster that will be shown on your film website, and in the film catalog on our homepage.
A trailer is the best way to convince people to rent your film. People prefer to watch, rather than having to read, and motion pictures convey more than a thousand words. If you donâ€™t have time to make a trailer, you can ask an editor to do one for you. And if you donâ€™t want to invest in a trailer, you can still use the first minute or so of your film to make a trailer. But you should definitely have one. You can add the URL of your film website at the end of your trailer or as a watermark, to let people know where they can watch and rent the film.
With filmbinder you can upload a trailer that will be shown on your film website.
Since Video On Demand is delivered over the web, you want to look for customers that use the web, or better said, you need to make sure they find you, when they look for you on the web. Search engines can only read text to find content, that means you need to optimize the text that surrounds your film for terms that users are likely to be searching for.
Choose only a few target keywords that best describe your film content, and use them often in relation to your film (URL, title, description, tags, etc.). Choose long tail keywords or keyword phrases (keywords that consists of several words), as these are more likely to achieve high search engine rank positions, than one word keywords, that have more competition. Use the word â€œvideoâ€ in your keywords, because people often use this word when looking for film content. The more specific or targeted your keywords are, the higher the conversion rate of your visitors will be.
Short and descriptive URL
Keywords in your URL are the most relevant words for search engines. So having a short and descriptive URL will help your SEO significantly, not to mention that it looks a lot more professional, and people have a chance to remember it and type it in the browser.
Most video sharing sites give you a long unreadable URL for your film profile page. Here an example of two URLs that point to the same trailer â€œVodka & Womenâ€: Instead of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s8WBNhVXcw you should have something like http://vodka.filmbinder.com.
If you have several films, then use a different URL for each film. Because if you show several videos on one page, the page will not be optimized for each video.
Once you chose an URL for your film website, donâ€™t change it anymore. It takes some time to spread the word, and to build some back links. If you change your URL, all your efforts of promoting your link will vanish.
With filmbinder you get your own customized and short URL for each of your films.
Keywords in the title are the second most relevant words for search engines. Of course your film title is what it is, and you cannot and should not change it. But you can provide the title in several languages, mention that the film is a feature, a short, a documentary, an animation, a trailer, etc., add the language of the film and mention, if it has subtitles, in order to place more keywords into your title.
Here an example: MAS ALLA DE LA CUMBRE (BEYOND THE SUMMIT WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES).
Even better is to have several versions of your trailer for different languages.
With filmbinder your film titles are crawled by search engines.
Of course keywords are the most important words for SEO, but all text is relevant for search engines. So use your film description to the fullest. Donâ€™t keep your film description short, vague and mysterious, for the sake of creating suspense. Suspense does not matter, if people can't find your film.
With filmbinder your film descriptions have more space, than you will ever need, and they get crawled by search engines.
When people search for your cast and crew, your want your film to pop up in the search results. Therefore list all your credits of your film.
With filmbinder you have a special drag & drop interface just for credits.
Add pictures such as screenshots and backstage footage to your film website. Then people can find your film through Google Images.
With filmbinder you have a special drag & drop interface to manage your stills gallery. You can add captions to provide some searchable text.
External links not only carries people to your site, but also help your film get higher search engine rankings. Create as many inbound links to your film website as possible. Any link to your film website is good. But the more popular the referring site is, the better. You can create inbound links by posting your URL in blogs, forums, websites, social networks, video sharing sites, bookmark sites etc. Post your links along with your poster or trailer to grab more attention.
If you have several film websites, then cross link all of them. That way when people find one of your films, they can easily discover your other films as well. Internal links will also help your films get higher search engine rankings.
With filmbinder you can put your cross links in the film description to show them on your trailer page, or in the discount code instructions field to show them on your film page.
Submit your sitemap to search engines. You can submit your sitemap to Google through the Google Webmaster Tool. For more information about sitemaps, please visit About Sitemaps.
With filmbinder you donâ€™t have to do that, since we submit our sitemap to Google and your film website will be properly indexed by Google.
Submit your video sitemap to search engines. You can submit your video sitemap to Google through the Google Webmaster Tool. This will get your trailers listed under Google Video and Google TV. For more information about video sitemaps, please visit Creating a Video Sitemap.
With filmbinder you donâ€™t have to do that, since we submit our video sitemap to Google and your film trailers will be properly indexed by Google.
Video sharing sites
Upload your trailer to as many video sharing sites as possible, and post your film URL in the description to let people know where they can watch the film. Something like â€œWatch it at http://vodka.filmbinder.com.â€ This gives you extra traffic and back links, and will help your SEO.
You can also search for related videos and leave a comment and a link to your video.
With your permission, we help you spread your trailers to other sites. Just let us know.
Tube Mogul is a free service that helps you mass upload your trailer to many video sharing sites in one swoop.
The most important video sharing sites are:
When uploading your trailer to video sharing sites, make use of tags. Use up all space that is available for tags. Not only does this provide you with more searchable text, but also gives you the opportunity to build links. For each tag word you add, a website is created, which links back to your film profile where the tag was added.
Create accounts for your film on social network sites. These sites help you share your content with your friends and colleagues, and people can become fans and follow you, and by doing so they will show your content to their circle of friends as well. This gives it a viral dimension.
You can create a facebook fan page, where people can follow you if they â€œLikeâ€ you. And you can create a facebook group where people can follow you by becoming your friend. You can post news about your film on your wall, which will pop up in your friends newsfeed, and you can send notifications, which will land in your friends inbox.
With filmbinder you have a facebook â€œLikeâ€ button on your film website, so people can easily â€œLikeâ€ your film.
Setup your own blog sites and start blogging about your film. Blogs that you post will be found by search engines. Here a list of blog sites:
Blog about your film on other blog sites as well. If your film is about let say car racing, then Google â€œcar racing blogâ€ to find some relevant blogs about that topic. You can also look for filmmaker or film review blogs. In order not to appear as spam, you should contribute to the blog's conversation, instead of just promoting your film. Although your comments will not crawled by search engines, they might create some buzz and bring you additional traffic. Make sure you add a back link to your film website, either directly in the comment, or at least in your username.
Participate in the festival circuit to create some buzz around your film. There are many free festivals that you can take part in, and you might also consider some of the paid ones. By participating in festivals you have the opportunity to show your film to the public for the first time, receive media attention, network with people of the film industry, potentially get represented by an agent, or strike a deal with a distributer, and you will get laurels for participating and perhaps even win in one or more categories. Collect a bunch of festival laurels and include them on your poster. Laurels will help you build credibility and sell your film.
With filmbinder you have a special drag & drop interface to manage your festival laurels.
Ad campaigns may not provide a direct return on your investment. You need to pay at least $0.05 per click (if not up to $0.5). That means with a conversion rate of 1% , you need to pay at least $5 for 100 clicks in order to get one paying customer who rents your film for maybe $3. But you might still want to run Ads to create initial buzz, and hope for people spreading the news by word of mouth.
Yahoo Search Marketing
Add links of your film websites and your social network sites in your email signature.
Send out free passes to your film to the media and to influencers. Ask them, if they can provide you with a review or quote.
With filmbinder you can send out free passes to people of your choice. You will be able to see, if that person actually watched your film. And you wonâ€™t have to worry that the free pass will be used by others, as the activation link is only valid once, and only for a certain period of time after activation.
Spread the word
Let your family, friends, and colleagues know about your film, and encourage them to get the word out. Email all your contacts. And contact all of your friends on your social network sites.
Wherever you post your trailer or talk about your film, enable comments, allow users to rate your films, and make it easy for them to share your posts with their friends.
Use Google Alerts to scan the web for mentions about you or your film. This way you wonâ€™t miss any free publicity.