Can You Make Money With Digital Distribution?

One of our readers asked: “Can you make money with digital distribution?”

“As a filmmaker, I would like to make a living making movies. There is all this talk about selling movies online, but I can’t find any numbers to reflect how many films people can sell on sites like Amazon, Hulu and iTunes. Can you help? I mean, can you make money with digital distribution?

The article below is by Jason Brubaker of  As a distributor of indie films myself, I follow Jason quite a bit when it comes to distribution tips, so I thought I would share this article with you.


Can You Make Money With Digital Distribution?

Having spent the greater part of my career working in film distribution, I can tell you the best answer is probably not as concrete as you would like. The answer is, “It  depends.”

Unless you are one of the lucky few to land a MAJOR deal with the platforms (where they provide a minimum gurantee and promote your movie), your ability to make money with digital distribution depends very little on where you place your movie.

Rather, your success has everything to do with the strength of your marketing, the strength of your audience engagement and the quality of your work. Your success has everything to with your conversion rate.

Out of all the people who visit your movie website, how many visitors can you convert into a movie buyer? You can start this process by evaluating your movie idea. The answer to these questions will help you find ways to make money with digital distribution.

  1. Who Is Your Target Audience?
  2. How Large Is Your Target Audience?
  3. How Will You Reach Your Audience?
  4. What Is Your Marketing Strategy?
  5. How Many VOD Sales To Break Even?

In a past article I wrote about VOD sales projections. The math is sobering and reveals why studios spend millions of dollars on promotion. Yet for some reason, indie filmmakers pretend that marketing is something best left to some sort of magic movie marketing fairy.

If you want to find out more about how to market and sell your movie, check out the indie producer’s guide to digital self-distribution.

Jason Brubaker is a Los Angeles based movie distribution executive specializing in direct to consumer distribution strategies. As the founder of Brubaker Unlimited, he currently consults with media companies, rights holders and content creators to develop strategies to source content, maximize distribution, grow audiences, build buzz and create community around each title.


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