It’s no longer a controversial statement that streaming has changed the whole game for independent film distribution. It hasn’t been one for quite a while. However, it is becoming apparent that not only has streaming changed the game, it might as well have become the game, at least here in the US. That’s not really a good thing for indies. Here’s why.
Streaming has made such a vast library of content available people don’t need to buy movies.
The biggest reason that Subscription Video On Demand streaming has engulfed the entire media landscape is that it’s put a giant library of films at the fingertips of anyone for only around 6-15 bucks a month for most platforms. It’s putting entire on demand catalogs that are even more convenient than owning a film on DVD.
Physical Media used to be the primary way people could watch films when they felt like it.
It used to be that licensing a film to A TV station was pretty lucrative, and didn’t really affect your physical media sales. In fact, it often increased them. People didn’t want to have to wait around for your film to screen if they liked it, so they bought the disk. Yet SVOD companies license a film, and for the term of the license their subscribers can just watch the film wherever, whenever they want.
This level of convenience has made it significantly more difficult for filmmakers and distributors to sell content for a transactional fee which has a much higher margin per unit sold. When Netflix started the game, it was still just one platform, and many people didn’t have the level of internet needed to stream without a significant amount of lag. This result often ends up that filmmakers and distributors are left with whatever the license fee for each film is, and will see little to no revenue beyond those licenses.
It basically means that not only is streaming taking up a much bigger part of a given film’s revenue mix, it’s also shrinking the pie.
But with so many platforms and so much content, there must be lots of license though, right?
It depends how you’re looking at it. Sure, these platforms are creating massive amounts of content, and acquiring still more. However, the price they tend to pay for acquisition is lower than you’d think, and some of the terms tend to be a bit unreasonable. For originals, it’s a long road requiring a strong package that 95% of filmmakers will never reach.
You might think that many new platforms are going to be looking to make even more original content in order to make sure subscribers keep paying for their content. There’s some truth to that, but the problem is that there are so few outlets likely to survive the streaming wars that the system of gatekeepers that the streamers were supposed to break may become even fewer than they were before.
The big problem here is that there are A LOT these same sorts of platforms seeking the attention of an oversaturated audience and market. The impact is that there’s a lot less money to go around for indies, and much of the consumer base is just subscribing to a few services, and not buying a lot outside of that. So unless a filmmaker has a strong engaged audience, they’re not going to be able to compete.
Essentially, the SVOD wars intensifies the problem creators have been facing for several years, and that’s the fact that while anyone can get their film out there, getting anyone to see it is an entirely different matter.
It all comes back to audience.
This comes back to one thing. Build and engage with your audience, and create content that speaks to them on a deep level. It needs to evoke an emotion or speak to an experience that no one else can. In order to succeed, we Indies need to defragment our market and find our tiny place in it. We don’t need to be 8 people’s 6/10, we need to be 2 people’s 10/10.
Thanks for reading. This one was more of a think piece than my general practical advice. Let me know what you thought about it in the comments. If you like this and want more, please consider joining my mailing list, or supporting me on patreon. Also, if you have a podcast or youtube channel and would like to discuss this topic (or any other topics related to the film biz) in more depth, feel free to reach out via the link on the right. Thanks so much and more next week.
2/15/2022 11:29:28 pm
Very much appreciated. Thank you for this excellent article. Keep posting!
10/6/2022 03:23:22 am
Customer work low. Find condition born dark serve physical.
Leave a Reply.
My name is Ben, I'm an Entrepreneur, Producer's Rep, and Author. I'm the founder of Guerrilla Rep Media, Co-Founder/CMO of ProductionNext, and founder of Producer Foundry. Together, the organizations seek to help make filmmaking a more economically sustainable endeavor. I am dysic, I have capitalization issues, and the blogs are often unedited. opinions all my own.
Join my Mailing List for FREE Resources!
I'm happy to offer a FREE Resource Package to anyone who joins my mailing list. You'll also recieve monthly digests of my articles and other valuable resources.
Audiobook Free through Audible.com
Available exclusively through Amazon.com
Copyright © 2019 Guerrilla Rep Media. All rights reserved