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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.

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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.)


Peter Gerard
Thu 14 Jul 2011Link

Yes, please spread the word! Jon has integrated the player nicely into his site: http://muvi.es/313/1

And maybe you've already hit your mailing list, Chris? We've been getting emails from doc-educators today. If so, thanks!

Edited Thu 14 Jul 2011 by Peter Gerard

Christopher Pavsek
Thu 14 Jul 2011Link

I did, Peter. That's quick results. I bet they all want discounts, knowing academics... were they interesting emails? It was the email list associated with the Visible Evidence documentary conference.

Edited Thu 14 Jul 2011 by Christopher Pavsek

Peter Gerard
Fri 15 Jul 2011Link

Got one from South Africa so far, just wanting to make sure we can work internationally and pay to non-US bank accounts, which of course we can. Cheers!


Joshua Z Weinstein
Mon 18 Jul 2011Link

I have checked some other peoples sites on Distrify and it seems that everyone is automatically selling there stream version as a download for the same price. How do you change the price of the downloaded version of your film?


Peter Gerard
Tue 19 Jul 2011Link

Hi Josh,
We recommend selling the download at a different price. I don't think many people are selling downloads yet, and most aren't selling at the same price. If you go the "LATER" section and there is no download available it shows you the streaming option, which is maybe what you're seeing. You can't actually sell the same file for streaming and download... yet.
We'll soon have some more enhanced features for selling downloads, coming in a week or so... Stay tuned...


Cameron Hickey
Tue 19 Jul 2011Link

What about coupons or some kind of gifting of the films. I see a scenario where I would like to sell my film generally, but also be able to make it free to view for certain people who i provide a code to. I think a private vimeo or youtube video could serve this need, but it would be great if a similar feature was available in Dristrify. I realize there is still an inherent cost – your streaming bandwidth – so perhaps the filmmaker can pay?


Joshua Z Weinstein
Tue 19 Jul 2011Link

Peter,
Oh gotcha, miss understood. The later section is just showing the streaming, I thought it was charging the same price fora download.
If I want a download version, if have to reuplaod my file?

Cameron,
That is a great idea! Filmmakers would be happy to pay that cost, to give out to people that we need to see our projects.


Peter Gerard
Wed 20 Jul 2011Link

Presently it has to be a separate upload to sell a download, however I'm working on a solution to make this easier. Should be ready in a week or so.

Cameron, We've had a number of requests for this and it will be added to the list. We need to work out acceptable pricing for these "tokens" and a usability approach that makes it work smoothly and avoids potential abuse.. You're right that for now you can use YouTube or Vimeo for this kind of thing, but of course the pseudo-streaming offered by those platforms is not as robust for feature films, so we will come up with a solution in time.


Beth Humpert Dunn
Sat 23 Jul 2011Link

Peter, Ben,I've been considering Distrify for the future, but looks like the time is NOW with this great opportunity offered to us here. So I am very glad to hear about this new partnership and look forward to seeing how it develops. It's also good to have the chance to learn more about your vision for Distrify. I have a couple of questions right off the bat. 1. Can the affiliate share be adjusted, if the filmmaker wants to offer them more and is willing to do so by lowering his/her own percentage of return? 2. If the filmmaker has a digital newsletter or email blast for fans, can the Distrify button be used within it? Thanks.


Peter Gerard
Sun 24 Jul 2011Link

Hi Beth,

1. Yes, the filmmaker can offer more (or even ALL) of their percentage as affiliate commission. Distrify always pays the first 5% and the rest comes out of the filmmaker share.

2. We have a handy tool that lets you make an image version of your player so you can embed it in an email blast. You have to link it to the real player, since you cannot embed video in emails. Our partner Edinburgh International Film Festival used one in each of their email newsletters to great effect.


Beth Humpert Dunn
Mon 25 Jul 2011Link

Peter, thanks, that flexibility for affiliate commission is super and also good news abut the tricky tool.

What are your ideas about distribution of a film that is actually a web series? I have been wondering about ways to present a web series that is in post-production now. We could share episodes on YouTube and then offer a DVD of the entire series via Distrify. I am thinking this is the best way to start, because we have to market and build viewership.

To distribute episodes individually, via streaming or download, how best to do that? With the Dsitrify model, we would have to present each episode with a button using a trailer. Or would we? Might there be a way to present a series of short films, with a listing that looks something like an album with individual songs for sale? There are some services out there for music, like Top Spin and partners, but a filmmaker has to make the adaptations, as far as I can tell. I would appreciate hearing your perspective.


Steve Ladd
Tue 26 Jul 2011Link

I'm wondering what the maximum stream capacity is at a given time. I'm working with a producer who may get a huge amount of national and international publicity for his film concentrated in a short period of time. Thanks.


Peter Gerard
Tue 26 Jul 2011Link

In reply to Beth Humpert's post on Mon 25 Jul 2011 :

You can add a number of short videos to one Distrify player. Just keep adding a "new product" and you can add as many videos as you like. Then you just need the one player/preview. You can either sell the shorts individually or group them together as a "package" like a deluxe edition. You can choose to make products "only in a package" or they can be $0.99 each or $5.99 for 10, just like an album. We haven't made a how-to video for this feature yet, but it's all there and some filmmakers are using it to great success. I'll embed an example below (note: this one does not show the packages to Germany, Japan or UK, due to geo-restrictions).

In reply to Steve Ladd's post on Mon 25 Jul 2011 :

Steve, we can handle pretty much any capacity. If you expect some extra publicity, please let us know and we'll boost up our resources, but they should expand dynamically anyway. Please let us know when you expect the extra hype though, and we can join in.


Beth Humpert Dunn
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Peter, thanks for the info. Distrify handles the streaming and download of movie files only, is that correct? Sales and fulfillment of physical product are left up to the filmmaker. How are payments handled for these various sales, since you collect and distribute to filmmakers and affiliates?

Have there been customer service issues develop on streaming product, and if so, to whom does a customer go for a solution? Mini example- when I tried to sign up for email on Adventures of Power from the button you embedded above, I had problems. Could not 'continue.' Will try again later. Thanks.


Peter Gerard
Wed 3 Aug 2011Link

We handle all payments through the player, and presently for physical merchandise you get an email notification to fulfil the order. This can also be sent to your fulfilment company, or you can get in touch with us and we can look at deeper integration options. As soon as payments clear to our account you can request a withdrawal from the Income Report on Distrify.

For customer service on streaming and downloads, we handle that for you. If there's a problem with a DVD or other merchandise, we will contact you and ask you to get in touch with the customer to solve the problem.

I will look into the Subscribe issue you are reporting..


Beth Humpert Dunn
Fri 5 Aug 2011Link

Peter, I discovered that my registration to Distrify email list went through, even though it did not appear to on screen.


Peter Gerard
Sat 6 Aug 2011Link

Hi Beth, yes, there was a display bug on that screen. Thanks for reporting it – my engineer fixed it straight away on Wednesday. Cheers


Ben Kempas
Tue 9 Aug 2011Link

The Scotsman newspaper on Distrify.


Mark Barroso
Tue 9 Aug 2011Link

I uploaded my film, but now I'm wondering if the 53 minutes version would be better for on-line viewing than the 72 minute one. Any thoughts on that? Given the choice, do on-line viewers prefer shorter ones? My film is purely entertainment, about a group of radical puppeteers in Chapel Hill that perform huge spectacles in a primitive amphitheater, using recycled materials.

The audience would be primarily the puppeteering community, and secondly the eco/alt-theater crowd, a demographic I just made up.

Edited Tue 9 Aug 2011 by Mark Barroso

Mark Barroso
Tue 9 Aug 2011Link

Well, my upload failed (probably my end), so now that I'm starting from scratch I'll await to hear your thoughts on my question before trying again.


Jon Braeley
Wed 10 Aug 2011Link

Using AT&T extreme DSL from the USA I was averaging 15 to 20 hours to upload HD files – so it's a pain because any one thing can easily stop the upload and you have to start from scratch again. You have to stick with it though and it will work. Safari browser works on smaller files – Firefox was terrible and Chrome works on larger files but Chrome was unstable ... just my experience. I do not and will not ever use Explorer.


Ben Kempas
Fri 16 Sep 2011Link

The uploads mainly depend on the stability and upload bandwidth of your own internet connection. I've never experienced any difficulty here.

In the meantime, Dogwoof (a large distributor for indie docs in the UK, very active in audience engagement) has made a great part of their library available for streaming or purchase via Distrify players on http://dogwoof.tv – worth having a look.


Peter Gerard
Sat 17 Sep 2011Link

I should say, we made some improvements to the Distrify uploader a couple weeks ago to help those with connection problems. It can now continue even if there are a few hiccups in the network.

Dogwoof has made a nice library indeed, and I'll again point out Jon's good work, since he now has a page to encourage users to take advantage of the reseller affiliate programme: http://emptymindfilms.com/watch-now/become-a-partner-its-free/


Christopher Pavsek
Wed 26 Oct 2011Link

Peter – I'm wondering if you guys ever added a way to offer a free download or stream to distrify. I'm about to (or trying to, encoding is messing with me) join up with distrify, and one extremely useful thing would be to allow people to preview a film – like an academic considering purchase


Peter Gerard
Fri 28 Oct 2011Link

This is a common request – something we hope to implement before long. Of course the main issue is that free is not actually free, so we have to build in the pricing model for free. Hope that makes sense!


Christopher Pavsek
Fri 28 Oct 2011Link

It does.
I also just posted a feedback question on distrify; the only way to do so seems to be via some site called "get satisfaction", unless you have tweeter or facebook, etc.;

My upload appeared cropped, but it seems like there's no way to view one's own upload to see how it looks, is there?


Christopher Pavsek
Sat 29 Oct 2011Link

Everything is cool now. Distrify gives prompt feedback. I'm now officially distrified. Send me some money! (I need to replace the trailer; it has a few extra frames at the start...)

Edited Sat 29 Oct 2011 by Christopher Pavsek

Ben Kempas
Mon 7 Nov 2011Link

Strong price points. Do they work for you?


Christopher Pavsek
Mon 7 Nov 2011Link

I don't think i've sold a thing. To be honest, I didn't change them. They were the defaults!

Are you messing with me?

Edited Mon 7 Nov 2011 by Christopher Pavsek

Ben Kempas
Tue 15 Nov 2011Link

Well, the price for your download gets displayed as GBP 13.99 here (which would be USD 22.14) – and that for a 28-minute film that's almost 10 years old? I think that's too much. Might work for a new feature-length film but not for this, I'm afraid.

Also, what has been your strategy for promoting the film? Where is the player embedded? How many times has it been shared? What social media have you used to promote it?

Keep in mind that Distrify is a tool that enables you to deliver straight to your audience. It's not one of those distribution portals that will try and sell the film for you (or not).


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