Video on Demand Hits Facebook for Indie Filmmakers

Video on Demand Hits Facebook for Indie Filmmakers

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Flicklaunch, the newest Facebook video-on-demand service, has launched. Sure, they’ve only got one flick to flick to users now, but they’re hoping to hit the market of indie filmmakers who own the rights to their content and can launch it however they please. This might mean brand new avenues of revenues for you and me.

Flicklaunch lets Facebook users rent videos-on-demand right through the social network. Alright, that’s nothing new as everyone is starting to launch these types of services. Warner Bros., for example, are distributing their own films through Facebook. But the big studios are only working with the big studios. So what’s an indie filmmaker to do?

The Payoff

Flicklaunch thinks they have the answer. Rentals are from $1-5 and can be purchased in several ways including Paypal, Facebook Credits. I hate Paypal but they are a necessary evil for me. What is really interesting to me is that Facebook does not take a cut of the Flicklaunch sales paid through it. They do get 30% on Facebook credits purchases which then reduces owner share to 50% and Flicklaunch to 20% (taking 20% from content owners over Paypal).

Wouldn’t you, as an indie filmmaker, then try to push Paypal far more than you would Facebook credits? I would, and I do in regards to my books (The WifeCycle and The Journey of Why). When buying directly from my physical and digital outlets (CreateSpace and Smashwords) I get a much larger profit than I do when they are purchased through Amazon, Kindle, etc. So I often try to ask people to buy from there.

I could see this being a problem for Flicklaunch, if say, Facebook became greedy and required that all sales go through them or that they get a cut of all sales.

Why would they do that? Well, their network is bearing some brunt, not the film streaming itself, but certainly the web pages wrapped around it. Flicklaunch is also tying directly into the Facebook userbase which they might see as offering a service, a service which they might want payment for. After all, you’re effectively getting a potential audience of 600 million global viewers.

However, it seems like they might have already struck some deal with Facebook as the two are working together to sort some technical problems that arose from the launch.

The Service

Flicklaunch might be considered as in beta. After all, they only have one film currently available. That film is Blues, from Level33 Entertainment.

I was reading through their fan page wall and found this which I thought summed it up nicely.

The company’s unique positioning as a social distribution channel for movies that are trying to find new ways to monetize and reach the masses places a huge responsibility on the team. The core goal of the application is to provide entertainment as well as utility value in a burgeoning market of online streaming of premium long form content.

I like it. They seem to be looking to pull in that audience of filmmakers that have been left out of many a loop. That’s not to say there aren’t ample places to distribute your premium long-form content online, but it seems like sometimes it’s hard to get an audience for them. With Facebook’s 600 million strong userbase, there’s already an active userbase in place that has proven they are willing to spend money through the service and have been doing so in many ways already, mostly gaming which has a list possibly longer than my arm.

Another thing that this might help filmmakers achieve is international acclaim. Warner Bros. is still limiting the Dark Knight be geographic region, i.e. I cannot view it in the Czech Republic. However, if you own the rights to the film then you might not mind a worldwide distribution via Flicklaunch and Facebook.

In fact, that might be exactly what you need to get yourself on the road to a steady stream of work whether you be a director, film editor, actor or writer.

Now more than ever it seems that everyone will have a chance to make their film, tell their story, show their face and perhaps even, turn a little profit. Mmmm, mmm…I love technology!


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