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Old October 24th, 2008, 05:44 AM   #16
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Wow. I'm glad I asked this question here. These replies are so helpful and illuminating.
Tripp - I don't think the magazine is trying to rip me off. They aren't trying to force me to do anything yet. They are just saying that that's the way that they do it at present. They are considering my suggestions. If they get heavy handed I can walk away but the editor has actually been very supportive eg helping me to get interviews for the film that might have been difficult to get otherwise.
My gut feeling is that they haven't really taken the video thing on board yet and that's where they are coming from.
There's a two way trade here. My film for their 50,000 readers. That's a lot of eyeballs. What's more it's a highly-targeted audience.
On top of that the magazine can give the film cachet. A bit like if you get a movie into the theaters you are going to do better on video. I becomes not just another run-of-the-mill, straight-to-video movie.
So if a large part of that edition of the magazine is about what my film is about and if that's something very close to the hearts of the readers then the magazine is giving me something valuable.
In return I think that I need to go with the flow a bit. Work with the magazine and the audience and try to persuade them to pay for a better experience rather than withhold everything.
If I do that then the magazine is more likely to integrate the film with the editorial. That's the ideal situation. To use the management speak - win/win.
But maybe they will all be cheapskates and take the least expensive option. I'll report back on this if you like!
George - I'm still reading and thinking about what you are saying about exposure. I think however that exposure via the magazine is worth a lot to me. If I think how much it would cost me to advertise the film in the magazine it's a substantial amount. If I am getting the film integrated into an article in the magazine it's worth a lot more.
I'm thinking of it this way. I made one film last March and put it on Vimeo. It was quite popular and got on the HD channel and has had just about 7,000 hits. I made five more films about music and told the staff at Vimeo about one of them. Bless them, they liked it and put in on the HD channel. That film has had 11,000 hits. That puts those two films in the top 25 out of 3,600 on Vimeo tagged 'short film'. The other four have had less than 200 each - and they are pretty good films too, but nobody has heard of them.
Moral of story - you can make a film and put it on the web but the audience isn't going to find it 99% of the time.
50,000 sets of eyeballs from your target audience is not to be sneezed at.
George - rather than push for payment I think I'm going to push really hard for integration between the film and the editorial of the magazine. I understand your point and would follow that line in other situations. I can't go into too much detail but I think that for this film that is the best route to take.
I really appreciate all your other technical suggestions and am going to check all of them out. They sound really useful.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #17
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It's your call, but...
  • You're not advertising or 'buying eyeballs'
  • you are 'selling' your content for distribution
At the core it is no different than selling your film to the BBC/DC/NGC or any other broadcaster/distributor.

The way it works is that content creators get paid when someone distributes it, more so when it is for their commercial gain.

George/

Last edited by George Kroonder; October 26th, 2008 at 08:05 AM.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 03:47 PM   #18
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Richard... If I sounded like I thought the mag was ripping you off, I didn't mean to. I don't think they are. They're just looking out for their best interests, as do all living things.

Having worked in many different types of media I can say that many tend to stick to their core competence. In this case you mag people are so focused on print they may not be spending much time on alternate media strategy.

At the risk of sounding like a Media 101 course, the new millennium clanged to a close the era of monolithic media companies. As such, print media outlets are adding audio, video and all the other things that the Web can bring to broaden the information experience. But I expect that you already know this.

You're an expert when it comes to video, and you have valuable knowledge that they can use to improve their video exposure. Teach them. Show them why you think your way is better. Be patient, and compromise when you think necessary. For both the short and long term, this may help you become more valuable to them and open the door for follow on business which generally a good thing.

You probably know this too but I thought it was at least marginally important to say.
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Old October 26th, 2008, 05:50 AM   #19
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George
I'm going to take up most of your suggestions eg putting the video on my own site and getting the magazine readers to visit my site in order to watch the film.
I'm going to look at a combination of sponsorship, VOD and DVD sales to make some revenue. I've also got some ideas for other material that I could put on my site and charge for.
I'm going to check out Wordpress to make the site with and all your suggestions regarding streaming etc.
Tripp
You've pretty much hit the nail on the head on a number of counts. The magazine doesn't have any experience or expertise in this area at present and there is the potential for a longer term relationship with this and other media outlets.
The way I'm looking at it also is that if I sold my film to a commercial broadcaster that they would pay me something and sell airtime to make a profit. The magazine isn't in the business of working in this way with video so it gives me the opportunity to cut out the middle man and try to do the commercial thing myself.
There are irons in the fire that I would be stupid to describe on a forum but what you are suggesting is pretty much in line with my go-with-the-flow strategy. Hopefully I can travel from A to B with the magazine and become a part of B and make some money in the meantime. I hope that isn't too muddled a way of putting it!

Thanks guys for all your help and advice. If anyone else has any thoughts or suggestions please let me have them.
I'll post the url of the site when it goes live early in 2009 (assuming this all works out - it could still unravel) .
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Old October 26th, 2008, 06:46 AM   #20
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Sounds good. Looking forward to seeing it :)
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 03:14 PM   #21
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Here are a couple of ideas:

Use Amazon's S3 storage to hold the video itself; set up a simple Wordpress site with a Flash or Quicktime player to play it:

This page has a movie showing the process of encoding, uploading and publishing:

Publish at DVcreators.net

Instead of DVD, consider direct download:

MOD Machine vs. DVD at Leaping Brain Labs, Inc.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 03:26 PM   #22
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Thanks Josh
Amazon S3 and Wordpress are two of the recommendations that were made in this thread and I have started looking into both of them. S3 is really difficult to get my head round but I will return to it. Wordpress is giving me a headache too so I just ordered a book today.

Thanks for your thoughts re DVD. It's the conclusion that I've come to. I mean who is going to sit there waiting for orders to come in and then take them down to the post office. I can't say that excites me and I've got better things to do with my time.

So I'm looking into the direct download option (and your links) in order to charge for video and audio material. I'm talking to the magazine about making the whole film available _possibly_ with a sponsor and trying to sell extra interviews and the music to the film (still to be recorded!) as paid-for downloads. If anyone has more ideas relating to this I would love to hear them.

And thank you everyone who has contributed to the thread. It's been incredibly useful.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 03:08 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Kroonder View Post
[*]Use some form of file (access) protection if you're expecting/accepting payment. Players can offer some protection here.[*]Use Paypal for donations or payment (it's really easy). You can also consider Google checkout or other options, but PP is pretty much the norm.[/list]HTH,
George/
George
Do you have any more information about how one could use Paypal to charge for access to video/audio files? I'd be very grateful to learn more if you do. Many thanks.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 03:41 PM   #24
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Hi Richard,

Even though the high level stuff sounds straightforward, even easy, the devil is in the detail.

Setting up:
  • A website
  • A (progressive download) video stream
  • A paypal payment option
is all fairly easy. Especially if the file is small and the number of (expected) downloads is limited.

As soon as the above doesn't meet your expectations/requirements things get technical and complicated very quickly.

At this point I should mention that you really need some sort of Business Plan and Marketing Strategy or simply put, some idea on how you want to make money and some prediction/expectation on the numbers. You'll need that to figure out what your budget can be... And you will need some budget, even though my advice is to keep it as simple as possible and (only) expand if it is making you (enough) money.

I cannot judge how much or little you can do yourself, but you will need some help from a webbuilder and/or webhoster.

Asuming a (very) limited budget and some measure of copy protection but still having a base to build on:
  • Get a webhost that offers a CMS (and the bandwidth/subscription you need)
  • Preferably have them manage the updates for it
  • Make sure the CMS has "membership" and "PayPal" modules/plugins
  • Look for a suitable template for the CMS, one that you have to change as little as possible (save big changes for later)
  • Get a webbuilder (and possibly a desiger) to adapt the template to spec. and make sure they know how to integrate a (custom) flash player like JW or Flow
  • Put the paid-for content player on the "members only" page(s); this will pretty much be the extent of the "copy protection" (i.e. not that much)
  • Use the PayPal module to automatically create "member" user accounts (or put them in a specific group, etc.) and send confirmation mail to these users
  • Users will log in and be able to view their a/v content
Joomla! (Open Source) CMS it should suit the purpose and there are a lot of hosters offering it and lots of builders working with it.

The protected pages will also protect you from bandwidth bandits (hotlinking) that will try to make money on your dime (or penny). It won't really prevent anyone from copying/distributing/pirating the content as it uses "progressive download" as the (pseudo) streaming mechanism. You can use this with true (real time) streaming as well, but need a streaming server or service.

In my opinion you can't really go with less than that very easily, although technically you could build your own simple membership and content protection "system" and PayPal has an API for which you can write your own interface.

However a ready-made CMS will have that and more, like some marketing tools (newsletter) and be easier to maintain and expand upon when needed.

George/
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Old November 8th, 2008, 09:07 AM   #25
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Hi George
I'm sorry to be slow in responding. The notifications on DV info seem to have stopped working for me and I've just found your post.
Hmmmm. This is getting quite complicated.
I've been having thoughts about whether I really want to get into being a retailer and I'm not sure that I do at the moment.
I've got a meeting with the magazine editor in ten days and need to have made my decisions by then.
I've approached some potential sponsors too.
So I will look into your suggestions and work out a plan.
I really appreciate your feedback and will let you know what happens.
Richard
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Old November 8th, 2008, 10:56 PM   #26
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One important point to keep in mind is to think about the presentation. With a thrown-together solution, it can be easy to make valuable content perceived as if it should be free.

People are used to web video being free- so many have tried to charge and failed, while DVDs continue to be perceived as having value.

Amazon and others have been marginally successful selling music for 99 cents from their website, while Apple has been enormously successful selling music from the iTunes software environment.

How much of this is due to Apple's "coolness" (even to Windows iTunes customers) and how much to the perceived value of buying the same thing through a separate software program?
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Old November 9th, 2008, 04:17 AM   #27
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Good points Josh. Thanks.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 12:23 PM   #28
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Hi Richard,

I understand it can seem daunting and 10 days (or 7 by now) is too short to make anything happen.

If the whole streaming bit gets your stomach in a knot, talk to a streaming provider, ple PlayStream. I've not used their DRM services, but their prices are good and I'm sure they deal with pay-per-view requests daily; they should be able to get you started quickly.

Your website would only be the 'storefront' which can be set up quickly.

George/
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Old November 10th, 2008, 03:16 PM   #29
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Hi George
I've got longer than ten days. But I've still got to find people to record the music for the whole film and do a couple of interviews.
I'm actually thinking of seeing if people will donate to charity and see what happens.
My fallback position was to stream it from Vimeo but I put a test piece of the same length onto Vimeo (50 minutes) and it doesn't want to know. It doesn't start playing.
Meanwhile I have learned enough to almost finish a website of my own.
It's all useful stuff. I'm finding out about really obscure things like favicons.
I've got a meeting with the magazine editor a week tomorrow and hope to have most of my ducks in line by then! Got to be done by Christmas - or perhaps sooner. Will find out in a week.
Many thanks for your help.
Richard
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Old November 10th, 2008, 04:07 PM   #30
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Keep us posted ;-)

George/
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