DIY distribution platform VHX made a big move at SXSW this week when it opened its digital doors to the public, allowing any content creator to sell direct to fans at low cost. The start-up founded in 2011 by Jamie Wilkinson and Casey Pugh had been in private beta for two years building a library of over 300 select titles from indie filmmakers and film companies including Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me, and Oscar nominated docu The Act of Killing. Unlike video distribution storefronts like Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes, VHX offers technology that allows makers to sell content direct to fans via high quality streaming or DRM-free download at price points of their choosing, on their own websites. That means flinging the gates wide open to any and all content. “The goal is to close the gap between interest and availability,” VHX co-founder Wilkinson told me in Austin. Most digital distributors are selective in their content deals but VHX is a facilitator, not a gatekeeper of content.
VHX is one of a handful of rising DIY distribution companies offering content creators an alternative to aggregators by cutting out the middleman, dramatically changing traditional distribution models, territorial rights, and release windows – not just the means of delivery. “Traditional distribution thinking is that the world is chunked up into borders and information does not cross these borders, but the internet has changed all that,” said Wilkinson. VHX allows users to geofilter content by region but recommends they offer worldwide releases for maximum exposure. More than half of VHX sales come from outside the U.S. from consumers who don’t want to wait for a film to expand to their region or hit home video. “When you’re marketing or at a premiere in the U.S., people hear about it and there’s demand all over the world. We see tons of successful pre-orders because of that – there’s demand and people are Googling the film and they want to take some kind of action. You might as well offer it for purchase.” Read More »
A year after introducing its direct distribution platform at SXSW, Vimeo today announced upgrades to its Vimeo On Demand experience as the service continues to expand into a digital storefront destination for video. Vimeo has also added themed collections to its offerings, launching with four curated partnerships with Oscilloscope Laboratories, Patagonia Selects, the Slamdance Film Festival, and the SXSW Film Festival. Vimeo users can now browse themed film bundles and titles by genre from the content uploaded and distributed by Vimeo creators. Among the new improvements to the user experience are a My Library function that allows viewers to access rented, purchased, and previously watched titles and the ability to browse title cards with posters, descriptions, and trailers. Last week Vimeo announced a $10 million investment providing direct financial support and online marketing assistance to Vimeo content creators. Here’s the lineup of premium Vimeo partner titles included in the new film collections:
Oscilloscope Laboratories: Oscilloscope Laboratories is a film distribution company founded by Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. Oscilloscope’s eclectic, acclaimed slate has garnered six Academy nominations in as many years. The collection for Vimeo On Demand includes 12 O’Clock Boys; A Teacher; After Tiller; Dark Days; It’s a Disaster; Our Day Will Come; The Messenger; These Birds Walk; and We Need to Talk About Kevin.
Patagonia Selects: Vimeo On Demand will feature a selection of social impact films curated by Patagonia, including the upcoming DamNation; Fall and Winter; Groundswell; North of the Sun; Snows of the Nile; Slow is Fast; The Fruit Hunters; Trashed; and Village at the End of the World. Today, the Vimeo Theater at SXSW will host the world premiere of Patagonia Film’s new feature, DamNation.
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EXCLUSIVE: Will direct-to-consumer distribution make indie filmmaking more sustainable? Leeden Media will be the first lab rats in Vimeo‘s new On Demand program when it self-releases Neil LaBute‘s Some Girl(s) day and date in NY/LA and digitally June 28. The low-budget comedy-drama directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer (Party Girl) stars Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Jennifer Morrison, Mia Maestro, Zoe Kazan, and Emily Watson and premiered in March at SXSW, where Vimeo announced its bold new distribution venture. The program, offering creators marketing control and the ability to set their own prices, streaming periods, region parameters, and an enticing 90/10 profit split, had filmmakers salivating. Leeden Media partners and producers Patty West and Chris Schwartz even turned down traditional distribution offers to try their luck going DIY. “Foreign sales agents said the film might make it out in a year or two”, West told Deadline. “Domestic reps said maybe 2014. The timeline usually takes so long to get to the audience”, but through Vimeo the pic will make it to viewers just about four months after its SXSW world premiere. Read More »
Today at the SXSW Film + Interactive Conference, online video platform Vimeo launched its Vimeo On Demand program, a new distribution feature that will allow content creators to sell films and webisodes directly … Read More »