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IndiePlaya: A New Form of Online Film Distribution
by Roger Rose
Indie filmmakers looking for profitable DIY marketing and distribution (and who isn’t?) now have something to look forward to. Local entertainment attorney Jeffrey Brandstetter made sure that filmmakers across the globe got the word about IndiePlaya at the recent Cinequest 2011 Film Festival. Brandstetter, co-founder/CEO of the revolutionary online film distribution platform, says, “Filmmakers and distributors can now optimize the packaging, guerilla marketing and distribution of their films to highly targeted audiences.”
Filmmakers’ current woes are answered by an online platform rich with features, a robust marketing toolset, and superior business intelligence. Translation: filmmakers now have the ability to do targeted marketing to the preferences of individual audiences. What’s not to love?
The cutting-edge platform is intended to allow filmmakers (and distributors) to maximize their revenues while lowering costs by going directly to consumers in the marketing and distribution of both shorts and feature-length films. This certainly might answer the prayers of many filmmakers, not to mention all those buyers who cruise IMDb hoping that their favorite “small” films are actually for sale.
IndiePlaya’s message comes down to this: enabling filmmakers to focus on their own branding, as well as connecting buyers and sellers via the new information stream created by filmmakers themselves through their websites, Facebook and other social networking sites. And it sounds like IndiePlaya’s found a way to do just that—by enabling filmmakers to turbo-charge their existing websites so that every site now becomes a customizable web store with IndiePlaya’s functionality running under the hood. “We’ve created a platform that empowers the filmmaker in ways never seen before,” says Brandstetter. “As an entertainment attorney representing indie producers for over twenty years, I wanted a way to level the playing field. And now we’ve built it, giving independent filmmakers a fighting chance to actually turn a profit. Filmmakers can now sell further down the long tail then ever before possible.”
One way that IndiePlaya’s benefits for filmmakers might play out is this: A filmmaker can promote a film to consumers wherever they may be. For instance, filmmakers can now drive traffic from social networking sites (like Facebook) or popular consumer sites (like IMDb) back to the filmmaker’s website through links on each of those other sites. They can also easily sync their social networking posts to automatically cross-populate any film updates on their own website, on indieplaya.com, and on their social networking profiles, including changes to film credits, biographies, professional contact information and other news.
“Cinequest and IndiePlaya share a common goal,” says Halfdan Hussey, co-founder and Director of the hugely successful San Jose film fest dedicated to “mavericks.” “And that goal is to empower film artists with innovative ways to optimize their distribution opportunities. And how is that goal possible? It would seem that technology has caught up with Brandstetter’s vision, in one of those wonderful collisions of intention and practice engendered by the Internet. Filmmakers can now have unparalleled access to the marketing/distribution process; they can now modify all offering terms in real time, including video quality (Standard Def or HD), download vs. streaming, purchase vs. rental, variable rental windows, access to special content, price, and more.
The strategic alliance with Cinequest focuses on the newly upgraded CinequestOnline, a film distribution portal that is now powered by IndiePlaya. The good news locally is that Bay Area filmmakers now have a better chance of finding distribution by two paths: either by getting their films into Cinequest or by going directly to IndiePlaya, which (Brandstetter points out) also offers producers and distributors “rich metrics and business intelligence about their content, as well as anonymized, aggregated data about similar films, to help them target-market niche audiences and benefit from marketing strategies known to be effective.”
Cinequest’s Hussey says, “Our strategic alliance with IndiePlaya provides our maverick filmmakers with bleeding-edge technologies that enable them to better reach their audiences and monetize their content. Cinequest has played a pioneering role in the world of Internet distribution since 2003 as the first film institute to deliver feature films and as a partner in several of the companies that drove Internet delivery from a promise to a reality. The re-launch of CinequestOnline using IndiePlaya enables us to offer both DVDs and streaming video directly to our fans at the premier level of quality and ease.”
IndiePlaya’s unique marketing tools sound like the answer to indie filmmakers’ prayers, since the platform was designed to give maximum benefit to the little guy in a marketplace dominated by big ones. Some of those tools include: upgrading an SD purchase to HD (or adding a download option to an existing streaming-only purchase), bundling with other films, adding bonus content interviews, promos, behind-the-scenes footage and outtakes, even after consumers have made a purchase, territory-specific pricing to create premium offerings in some countries and discounted offerings in others (Geo-Targeting™), territory-by-territory carve-outs for split-rights deals (Geo-Fencing), and enabling direct relationships with audiences in chat rooms (The Filmmaker Is In™).
With no barriers to entry, IndiePlaya is a risk-free proposition, with a non-exclusive, no minimum term deal and no up-front or subscription fees charged to filmmakers or consumers. How can they do that? Brandstetter answers: “We charge a small fee—50¢ to $1.29, depending on the sale or rental price—for each transaction.”
Sounds good to us!
Note: for more info on IndiePlaya, check out
Posted on Mar 26, 2011 - 06:00 PM