5 mins

Making your film is one thing; getting it out there for the world to see is another. In our always-online world, the cinema isn’t the only way to get eyes on your movie.

In a recent survey, 86% of respondents said they’ll pay the same (or more) for subscriptions in the next year. With an almost infinite option of VOD services, people are engaging with cinema on the small screen more than ever. 

However, many of these platforms aren’t the cheapest option for filmmakers on a tight budget, and every penny counts. Don’t worry! As the president of uscreen, PJ Taei, puts it, “today, all the tools are available for you to bypass studios, distributors, and even Netflix and get your story out into the world.”

Raindance, one of the largest independent film festivals, has been researching how and why you should be using OTT (over-the-top) websites to distribute your film. So, let’s set our phasers to “note-taking” and explore the world of independent film distribution. 

DIY? That’s OTT! 

Gone are the days of splashing the cash for coders and developers; web design is a process anyone can pick up. By self-distributing, you cut out the middle-man and gain complete control of your movie’s marketing. This also results in more income for you!    

Does ownership of your movie and more money sound good to you? Well, here are four steps to take into account when launching your own OTT website: 

  1. Define your audience. Having an online presence before launching will make all the difference. Before you even begin thinking about launching a site, using social media platforms and engaging audiences interested in film (and its specific niches) should be the priority. Sites such as Reddit and Tumblr are fantastic platforms to hone in on unique interests, and with the ability to repost, gaining lookalike audiences will be a breeze. 
  2. Choose an OTT platform. Finding the perfect OTT service is as vital a decision as casting your actors. Ask yourself, is this website builder easy to understand? Is its video hosting reliable? Is there an opportunity to integrate methods of email marketing onto the site? Here’s a list of the best OTT sites being used right now!
  3. Choose your monetisation method. Subscriptions, pay-per-view, a one time purchase? How are you going to get the audience to watch your movie? Amazon Prime Video offers both a “rent for a while” feature and exclusive access to films through its subscription model.  
  4. Launch and promote your film. It’s time to get creative! A passionate filmmaker is proud of their work (and so you should be, it’s hard making a film!) It’s time to flaunt your achievements and engage your audience! By utilising your social media presence and offering exclusive content (fan-art, BTS etc.); promoting your film can be just as creatively fulfilling as the filming itself.  

Last but not least, maintaining your brand presence online isn’t an overnight objective. There are a few extra things you can do to make sure you’re getting noticed online, such as customised URLs and getting personal with your post. Raindance has an insightful article on this topic which you can view here.  

“People don’t change. Times do.” 

The internet has changed the way we consume media. More than half of Gen Z in the US and UK started streaming more online content through the pandemic, and that number will only increase with the number of streaming platforms offering unique services by the second. 

According to uscreen, when streaming video, 65% of it is done through mobile and TV apps; rather than browsers. Referring back to OTT, this is another factor to consider; you’ll want your site to be accessible on devices such as an Amazon Fire Stick, especially when over 239 billion hours were spent using video streaming apps across the globe last year.   

Additionally, Satistia found that, even though advertising generates 51% of the total revenue in the OTT market, subscription customers generate nearly twice as much money per user than users who opt into ad-supported streaming services. So don’t expect a significant ROI if you’re planning on going down the “upload to YouTube” alley.  

Don’t Give Up, DIY! 

“Distribution is the bottleneck that’s strangling independent film,” says founder of Raindance, Elliot Grove. Getting your film out there is a challenging task, but it’s also never been so easy to act upon

For those already more established filmmakers out there who want to try their luck gaining the big dog’s attention, Production Base has posted an article on getting your film onto Netflix. 

As we stated earlier, self-distributing your film leads to more creative control, something we love to see when it comes to making something unique. Remember, it’s essential to keep track of your budget throughout the process, don’t forget where you’re laying down the movie money! Surrounding yourself with other filmmakers or those knowledgeable about film financing will help bring your movie to life all the more swiftly. 

So best of luck, you upcoming Oscar winners! If you’d like more insights into brand-building online, want help in selecting the right OTT website design for your work, or simply want advice on how to promote your film and get eyeballs on your work, contact our team of film marketing experts now.

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