VOD is Changing Everything

So, I’m sure many of you know I’m writer/director/producer in film, theatre and now for a series I’ve already started pitching all over the place. Well, although somethings remain the same (Streaming & the #’s game) there have been some news/talk that distribution for TV/Film seems to be changing, but let’s start with Streaming & #’s:

Streamers like Netflix, Hulu, and a few others are still singing the same song, “Numbers count!” When these streamers pick up content, the deals (be it license or original works), they are looking at the social media numbers to decide if it makes sense to take on a project. This includes YouTube and Vimeo and other platforms where these content creators store their content for your viewing pleasure. What some content creators are not seeming to grasp is, Streamers aka VOD’s (video on demand) make their money through subscriptions to their platform. When people subscribe, they’re paying Netflix $13.99 (https://www.netflix.com/signup/planform) and Hulu you can pay up to $43.99 for live streaming TV & no commercials, and Amazon Prime subscription will get you TV & film streaming and a wealth of other items such as free package delivery. My point is, when you subscribe to these platforms, you pay a fee and that fee x 12 months and that is a lot of money. If you do the math, you will get why these streamers look at social media numbers. If you still do not get it, see below how I break it down a li’l more, but let’s look at the other items I spoke of:

DISTRIBUTION: I’ve been reading a lot of articles of deals ending such as one that Amazon had with distributors and content creators. Although some state it will make life hard for filmmakers, others say that Streamers are getting wise and cutting out the middle man, ye ole Distributor. One article even went as far to state that since the content creator/filmmaker was rarely getting paid because of added on expenses etc. the distributor added onto the filmmakers tab, VOD Streamers have gotten wise and found a way to continue to get content and save money. The article said they would pay the content creator directly, cutting out the distributor, and paying them anywhere from 1/3 – 2/3 would still beat the $0 check they were getting from the distributor. If this is true, and it is appearing daily that something of the like is happening, KUDO’s to my fellow content creators, as we’ve been ripped off so much and so horrifically by distributors, it’s about time we get paid for our hard work. Now, my confusion lay in where this ties in with the others who state that Distributors are being phased out and it will hurt the content creators/film producers. There is a chance I’m missing something(s), but if it is as it appears, it is win win, right?

IN DEMAND – Another development, although you may have already heard is, there are so many people starting their own channels and seeking content that FINALLY, content creators/filmmakers are in demand. They can not get enough. It’s reaching a point where there are more channels seeking films, series, etc., giving film producers & writers options and possible homes for their content vs. previously, where you were one of a plethora of content creators to pitch to TV networks and streamers. Oh how we await the day where we drop our content on the website of these platforms and await a call in to discuss with our entertainment attorneys. No middle-man. And if they like it, and it’s filmed raw or a acceptable format to the Streamers requirement sign you in either a licensing or…

STREAMING & #’S – it’s simple and plain, if you have lots of followers, studies show a % (I read approx 5) will go where you go. This materializes into you, the filmmaker signing a deal with, let’s say Netflix, and your followers being so happy about you partnering or being licensed by Netflix, they run to subscribe to binge watch your series, film, etc. So, that’s 5k subscribers for every 100,000 followers you have. 5000 x $13.99 a month is $69, 950 a month and x 12 months is $839,400 and if they include your followers, your cast followers, crew, and administrative staff you’re easily at 1 million or more followers, and 5% of 1 million is 50,000 subscribers x 13.99 = $699,500 a month, times 12 months is $8, 394, 000(and this is just for 1 series). You see what’s going on? Your # of followers, i.e. subscribers tell them if a content(series, etc.) is a hit or miss, so your social media #’s count plenty. Do not believe anyone who tells you otherwise (yes branding, quality, etc. matter, although there are some web series that make you wonder about film quality). There is also the point that some of their subscribers who may cancel their subscription when their favorite show is out of season, may in turn LOVE your show and stay. A good example is, if a mystery thriller-licensed series streams in the Fall, and you’re show holds an audience in that same genre, it would be beneficial to put you on in the Spring, and maintain that million dollar total above annually. There is also the fact that each of these VOD platforms need to keep EVERY subscriber binge-watching (and need to figure out a way to get the masses to fall in love with binge-watching). My point is, social media numbers, likes, followers & subscribers MATTER MUCH!

TO ACTORS, I say what several distributors told me (be they a dying breed or not, credit it due for this one): There is a reason why the casting directors ask about your social media, more than one reason actually. But getting your social media #’s up is not key, it’s not important, IT’S CRUCIAL. There are numerous ways, ideas, theories, and it’s not always buffoonery, foul language, sexual content, etc., sometimes it’s just you posting interesting content about yourself, others, staying, phrases, daring to be different, jokes, comedians, singers, dancers, etc. Post what you get excited about seeing, and use Hootsuite if you are busy, I know an artists life is hectic before you HAVE to work to eat and afford to delve into the arts, but find a way because, when I cast, hint-hint, I’m like every other…and I’m looking at your social media while you wait to be called in and again when deciding between you and another actor. Also, I’m looking to see if you support or promote us/the series or film or just filming and posting a li’l and then continuously only posting the new projects and moving on like a rolling stone. Learn the changes because they absolutely affect you actors.

Please chime in below. Add your opinion, facts, points to help enlighten the masses. Also, if you have an article you or someone else wrote that will shed light on this article, drop a link or comment below so we can all check it out. I only aim to share with you because as technology changes, everything around it changes.

I'm just sayin', what's your take?

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