Conquering the Tough Nut of Internet Distribution

Competition is stiffening for Independent online distributors

At least twice a week I see major announcements in the news about online movie distribution. This week was the most damaging to Indie distributors. I've been watching AOL, who is working with Eisner, for some time. This week AOL announced it is working on 15 - that's fifteen! - premium series targeted to various market segments. Hollywood Reporter article by Mark Burnett: Michael Eisner's Vuguru to Produce Original Video Series for AOL.

In other recent news, Netflix spun off its mailing business, to watch it die a slow death from falling use, and is getting some original content into immediate production. Netflix has deals with Paramount, Disney, and other major studios, to show their content earlier. Streaming is replacing the rapidly falling DVD business, which was a bigger source of major studio revenues than US theater revenue. BlockBuster and the Dish Network have decided to go into competition against Netflix.

This industry change has been kept under wraps for at least the last year, but now momentum has shoved it into the light. Changes are everywhere and everyday. For example, Paramount restructured its business, creating a home distribution division, reportedly to take advantage of the growing streaming and overseas distribution opportunities, and even closed its New York office. Story in Paramount Overhaul Creates Home Media Distribution Division, Leads To Jim Tharp Retirement, Tom Lesinski Exit.

While the Internet is the medium that will enable Independent producers and distributors to get their work out there, and profitably - as all the large studios and Netflix have no doubt about - it's also the medium that requires the most strategy to get noticed in. It may be inexpensive, but it's so massive you can't get your head around it.

With Netflix, BlockBuster, Hulu, Google, AOL, YouTube, and a host of other large services offering a forest of content, small independent distributors are going to be blown out of the Internet ballpark. My marketing research showed streaming was the direction things were going to go in 2001, and it would be a fight to be one of the proverbial big three goliaths. Not a typo: I saw this in 2001. That's why there is a today... despite established Independent producer naysayers (or should I say head-in-the-sand naysayers). You have to stay ahead of the game, and it's almost too late.

In this economy, and with DVD sales going off a cliff, studios and distributors have given short shrift to Independent producers, closing or restricting such groups as Warner Independent Pictures and Paramount Vantage. The Independent's market has nearly evaporated. But Internet distribution takes a major change in thinking, strategy, and even some changes in production - the subject of many articles on the MSP Insider.

Next page: The road to survival

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The road to survival

There is a way to survive. Get your movies listed where people will be looking. It's my first rule of marketing: Be where people are looking. The second is, give people what they want. "Where people are looking" is going to be It's free to list movies on This is similar to the way Google and Hulu do business - people come for the selection, and even though Google and Hulu may compete with you, they still list you.

By listing on FlixStreamer with other independent distributors and producers, there is a fresh limited selection, not the impossible to take in forest presented by YouTube and the others that drown people in endless trivial selection. And there will be a "recommendations engine" for this "find a movie service." Eventually there will be a large database of excellent movies for people to find on various distribution Web sites. All of these things should help Independent producers become more profitable.

On you can list your movie with a picture, description, and link to a trailer that links to your site, free, no obligation of any kind. No prices are listed. Movies have to be legal and not free. The venue they are showing in can be theatrical or Internet, as long as they were made by Independents. We're easy to work with, and we will help you if we can.

Have you produced a good independent movie or short? Get more attention for your shorts on Rent your movie on for more profit.

- Dorian

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- Dorian Scott Cole

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