the worldwide community of documentary professionals
You are not signed in.
Log in or Register

Avatar_17f889c2a71a_64 Distrify and The D-Word announce strategic partnership

Members of The D-Word documentary community can now "sell movies socially" with Distrify. The Distrify player can easily be embedded in film profiles and postings on The D-Word.

Resultset_first Resultset_previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Resultset_next Resultset_last
Ben Kempas
Tue 28 Jun 2011Link

Don't be so modest, Peter. :-)

I think we should remind people that they can all upload their trailers to Distrify even if they can't make their entire film available for streaming or download at this stage. You can just use the player to collect email addresses, accept DVD orders, or offer merchandise.

So who has tried it already?


Aaron Tait
Tue 28 Jun 2011Link

This is really spectacular! I love how Distrify uses modern web standards and isn't relying on Flash. Awesome stuff guys!


Ben Kempas
Tue 28 Jun 2011Link

Yes, it even works on your iPhone, iPad, or whatever you have.


Ben Kempas
Wed 29 Jun 2011Link

Here's another example for Distrify at work in a D-Word film profile: Cruzeiro (although I'm not sure why they uploaded it as 4:3 with letterbox)

They are offering a download to own.


Ben Kempas
Wed 29 Jun 2011Link

D-Worder Jeanie Finlay has the Distrify player in her film profile for Sound It Out (the Teeside record shop doc that was at SXSW, Sheffield, Edinburgh, and Silverdocs). This is an example of how Distrify can be used for ticket sales. In fact, the EIFF had chosen Distrify to host all of this year's festival's trailers.


Christopher Pavsek
Thu 30 Jun 2011Link

This seems like a very cool thing. Kudos to everyone involved!

A question, which perhaps misses the whole point: am I correct that Distrify doesn't have a website where one could find the films that are being distrified? It is entirely up to the filmmaker to have such a site for her/his own film, right?

But why not have a central Distrify site that does that as well, that lists all the distrified films? It seems like a fair bit of traffic might go to such a site and it could be an effective way to attract buyers. So if someone sees, for example, John Burgan's "Memory of Berlin" and buys it, they might then also say, "I wonder what other cool essay films this site has."

But like I said, I might be missing the whole point.


John Burgan
Thu 30 Jun 2011Link

[Hmm, well that would require "Memory of Berlin" to be able to clear all its archive rights for a DVD release in the first place <sigh> but nice idea]


Ben Kempas
Thu 30 Jun 2011Link

Chris, the point of Distrify is that they're not trying to set up just another portal, like many tried unsuccessfully before them. The point of sales can be anywhere where the player appears.

You can see all films currently using Distrify at http://distrify.com/films – but that's really just a list for reference, not necessarily targeted at the public.

Instead, places like The D-Word could be exactly the sort of website you're describing, at least for the documentary world. It'll need a bit more work on curation, design, and editorial content for the public part of this site, but that's what we're already working on. Stay tuned! :-)


Ben Kempas
Thu 30 Jun 2011Link

John – Maybe you should look into 'fair use'... :-) It would be great to have MEMORY OF BERLIN up here. It's such a brilliant film!

Also, like I said before, you can give Distrify geographical instructions: Define the only countries the film should be available in, or define those that need to be excluded. Whatever list is shorter, really.


Nigel Walker
Thu 30 Jun 2011Link

Chris has a good point. Distrify needs a branded web location, a place where people go to browse documentary films and watch them in one place, a web doc channel in essence. This way they can establish themselves as a niche portal for doc films.

What they have right now is the technology to deliver the films and for the filmmaker to make a few dollars but there is no real marketing or sales to drive the audience to the specific players on specific sites, the filmmaker is in the same situation as before, they are still working to establish an audience but now they are giving away 30% of the income. Vimeo will probably do this at some point.

For example I have a film at Journeyman Pictures, they take care of everything network, VOD and DVD sales, they also take 30% [no set up cost] but they have a whole marketing department selling, not just my film but the footage too. And they do sell, more than I imagined for this film. And I do nothing as I really dislike that side of the business.


Ben Kempas
Thu 30 Jun 2011Link

Nigel, The D-Word is planning to become exactly that location "where people go to browse documentary films and watch them in one place." We've got the user base to build this on.

The whole point of Distrify is that the filmmaker (or whoever represents him or her) will be in control of the "marketing and sales drive" you're asking for. And yes, it'll be hard work to connect to your audience. If you don't like to do that yourself, you should consider hiring a producer of marketing and distribution (see our Jon Reiss conference, Think Outside the Box Office ).

I don't know about Journeyman's business model, but they certainly didn't develop their own player that allows for sales happening ANYWHERE on the web, wherever the trailer occurs, and they don't allow for any affiliate system. Distrify developed all that, and that didn't come cheap. Prior to our partnership, we examined their business case and learned that their profit margins are perfectly reasonable.


Nigel Walker
Thu 30 Jun 2011Link

Don't get me wrong I think it's a great idea with a lot of potential, I'm just giving feedback from one perspective. There's no 'one size fits all' when it comes to distribution. I think it's about finding a combination of techniques that work for you and the resources you have for marketing.

I would imagine most filmmakers are in the position where they have a dollar amount for distribution and they have to choose how to use it. One of the first questions here was how much does it cost?

Journeyman was a great fit for me because I didn't have to hire a producer of marketing and distribution. That was the point, they did it all for what I thought was a reasonable percentage and I could move on to the next project. I'm not suggesting the Distrify model is not good value because you do get more features, it's whether those features are right for your film.

It's an interesting model and quite an accomplishment to bring something like this to fruition.


Christopher Pavsek
Thu 30 Jun 2011Link

As Nigel says, Distrify is clearly a cool thing and a hell of an accomplishment already; I was just wondering if it had both options – the way it allows a point of sale anywhere on the web plus a central site – it might not be more effective. It sure seems like it would allow one to take advantage of a lot of the way social media works: you go to a site and see what other people like or similar things to what you've been looking at.

But maybe that'll be where the public side of d-word comes in.

Edited Thu 30 Jun 2011 by Christopher Pavsek

Ben Kempas
Thu 30 Jun 2011Link

Exactly! (To both of you.)


Jon Braeley
Fri 1 Jul 2011Link

I just signed up – I think this could be perfect for me. My films are a specific genre and I know my market more than a distributor would. I have almost 10,000 subscribers between my own website and youtube and I have been looking for a way to sell via streaming but on my own website. Currently I sell DVDs of my ten film titles and ship all over the world.
I wonder if you should sell HD or SD at two different prices – I could not see anything about this on distrify. Currently I have 5 SD films and 5 HD films.


Ben Kempas
Fri 1 Jul 2011Link

Yes, you can upload different versions of the same film, such as HD and SD, or different languages, or the extras you would have put on a DVD, and sell each package at a different price. The feature Being Sold is a good example that offers SD, HD, and packages.


Jon Braeley
Fri 1 Jul 2011Link

Thanks Ben. I may use Distrify just for digital sales only for now because I hired someone to ship DVDs direct from orders on our website and supply Amazon with DVDs. I imagine by next year it may be only online streaming-download as things are moving so fast.
So I think I will be very busy this next few days uploading our films!!
Is there a thumbnail image needed to tell the viewer to click for streaming ot click for purchase do you know?


Ben Kempas
Mon 4 Jul 2011Link

At this stage, Distrify doesn't offer fulfilment services (for DVDs or other merchandise). Any orders will simply be forwarded to you (or the guy you hired) by email.

Here's an example of a D-Worder selling DVDs from a Distrify player: A Place Called Los Pereyra by Andrés Livov.


Nick Verbitsky
Wed 6 Jul 2011Link

Wow, I just checked this out, its f***ing awesome; what a tool for all of us!


Ben Kempas
Thu 7 Jul 2011Link

Can we quote you on this? :-)


Nick Verbitsky
Fri 8 Jul 2011Link

Feel free, BK :0)....I hate when apps come out and they're difficult to work, clunky, etc. My mind just shuts off when it won't just WORK, this thing is really buff-put together right, easy to use, and user-friendly!


Laure Parsons
Sun 10 Jul 2011Link

Love this tool and have recommended it extensively since SXSW. I think there is potential to make it even more useful in the future.


Christopher Pavsek
Mon 11 Jul 2011Link

Speaking of mentioning it, would you distrifiers like me to plug it on the documentary studies mail list I belong to? There are some filmmakers on there and lots of professors who teach docs, some of whom would also be interested in it as a new phenomenon worth thinking about.


Jon Braeley
Tue 12 Jul 2011Link

I will say one thing to D-worders. The support with Peter and Andy at Distrify is superb. You can tell they want to make this a great experience for us the indpendent film maker but also the customer. So far I am really enjoying the ease of this.... and the potential.


Ben Kempas
Wed 13 Jul 2011Link

Chris – I'm not a 'Distrifier' as such, but by all means, everyone should spread the word to everyone! (Needless to say, there's also plenty to re-tweet or share on FB.)


Join this discussion now. You need to log in or register if you want to post.