Wednesday, December 31, 2008

21st Century Distribution

Always looking to see if there's a better way to distribute ones film I came across CreateSpace. Here you send them a DVD of your film, and upload your cover art, and DVD disk art and they take care of the rest. Now this sounds promising and they have an agreement with Amazon too, so that's an incentive right there, but read the fine print before you sign.

CreateSpace has a fixed fee of $4.95 per unit. Then they take 15% of your listed fee. So let's say you're selling a DVD for $14.99. They take $7.19, and you get $7.80. Not bad I guess considering their printing out your movie and doing the shipping. But now if someone buys your movie from the Amazon link Amazon Inc. takes 45% of the list price of your DVD, and there is still the $4.95 fixed price. After the fees you get $3.30 per disk.

Talk about the big guy socking it to the little guy. Can someone tell me what's wrong with this picture. I know Amazon is a BIG company, and I know they do lots of business, but do they actually think this is fair? I mean you yourself still have to bang the drum YOURSELF for your product. You have to get it out there and seen & reviewed. YOU have to drive sales to the product. Amazon doesn't do this. They provide links to your product from various sources including IMDB. Not bad, but still the old build it and they will come doesn't fly. So why the high percentage? In this case it's the name, and they may be correct in charging you that rate, but I wonder how they base that on. After all newspapers and TV stations base their advertising rates on ratings. What does Amazon base this on? I'm sure they can show me graphs and charts on how well a product does when it's listed on Amazon, but does anyone consider what the product manufacturer had to spend in order to drive traffic to the link. After all is said and done is it worth it? For some I suspect it is, but for us or for me it certainly isn't.

I'm not complaining about CreateSpace. They seem to do a pretty good job. I've in fact ordered a film I was interested in seeing that they carry, so it's a win win for the content providers out there.

But because it's Amazon does 45% sound fair? I talked it over with my business partner (my wife) and we both agreed that at this time we'll stick to our good old guys at FilmBaby. They seem to be working on other avenues such as video on demand, and wholesale selling to stores. It's not that we've made a ton of sales from them, but it's the comfortableness of the deal.

I mean I'm always amazed. I mean stores and even on-line retailers are selling films for less then $14.99, and most have Hollywood talent that help promote their films. How does the small guy even compete I can't say, but I still think there are markets out there to exploit. Right now those markets such as i-tunes are closed to us micro cinema auteur's, but the day will come when those companies realize that shutting people like myself out isn't in their best financial interest. A dollar is a dollar, and it doesn't matter if it comes from Universal, or some micro cinema creator. Eventually the walls will fall, but till then look for the deals, and keep on tooting your own horn. The best deal you can get is cutting out the middle man, and dealing with the artist directly. Those days are coming, and for some they are here, but it's taking a bit longer for the rest of us.

To everyone who reads this I thank you for taking the ride this past year with me. I hope to make it more interesting in the coming year, and hopefully I'd like to write more. The future is wide open, and filled with uncertainty, but it is a new frontier, and that's exciting.

No comments: