How to Sell Video

5 Video Distribution Hacks for Your Release

by KK Apple · March 30, 2016 · Comments

Digital distribution eliminates all kinds of restrictions for how, where, and when you release your work. That’s one of the benefits of the big, wide-open internet — you don’t need to adhere to any traditional models of how video or film “should” be released. That’s why we like building technology that gives publishers tools for creativity. 

Last year, our friends at Sundance Institute’s #ArtistServices put together “23 Hacks for your Indie Film Release” at SXSW. We were inspired to keep the hacks coming! Here are five creative (digital) ideas to try for your video release:

  1. Throw a digital event

    Engage a wide community without having to rent out a whole theater! Build an virtual event by streaming your movie for a certain period of time (maybe even concurrent with a brick and mortar screening), and invite your fans to "attend” online.

    Great example: The creators of Roger Ebert documentary Life, Itself! offered supporters the opportunity to stream the film at the exact same time as it premiered at Sundance Film Festival. After the premiere, fans were treated to a live video Q&A from the filmmakers and could stream it as many times as they liked for two weeks. Instant good feels. 


  2. Roll out in phases

    Use pre-orders to build suspense! It’s a great way to capitalize on any buzz you get from press, festivals, or social media pushes. Direct all that juicy traffic directly to your website, where folks can pre-order.

    Great example: Harmontown incentivized customers to get in early by offering a huge deluxe edition for $20 during pre-orders and $25 after launch. 

  3. Re-market to past customers

    Your previous customers are your most surefire fans. Reach out to them directly when you have new videos for sale, or send a coupon and incentivize them to share the film with their friends.

    Great example: By the time they were ready to sell their documentary, Girl Rising had a big list of supporters who had seen their live screenings. They used that pile of emails to experiment with digital discounts, giving out shareable and time-limited coupons.

  4. Up revenue with bonus content and deluxe editions

    Give your core fans more to love with robust packages full of extra content, or individual pieces of content for fans who already own the feature.

    Great example: Small is Beautiful made three different video packages with vary levels of bonus content, priced from $10-$50. Superfans loved the extra extras! The majority of sales came from the basic film package, but bonus content generated almost 50% of total revenue.

    Image: Small is Beautiful 

  5. Growth hack your backer rewards

    If you’re doing a crowdfunding campaign, you’ll probably give a digital copy of your video/series/movie as a backer reward. Even though these backers will have a copy, they’re invested! Give them opportunities during rewards fulfillment to buy more copies for friends, or maybe backer-exclusive discounts on merchandise and bonus content.

    Great example: Carb Loaded included a special card inside each physical DVD shipped to backers. It was a coupon code for purchasing a digital copy of the documentary, and a discount on everything in their online store. Backers → loyal customers.

Ok yup, you don’t have to be a programming whiz or character from Hackers to get creative with your video release. Check out our help docs for more digital marketing ideas.