Are People Really Watching Hulu? Distribution Is A Dirty Little Business
All I know about Hulu is that is an online TV site that Alec Baldwin did a commercial for I saw. The only reason I kept watching was because his short role in Glengarry Glen Ross was one hell of an acting performance. What sparked this post was an article I read in The Los Angeles Times business section with the headline – How many people are really watching Hulu?
The smaller headline about measuring online audiences is what really caught my attention. I am an independent filmmaker that continues to rely more on video-on- demand (VOD) and online digital distribution for mobile devices to generate sales.
Like many independent entertainment producers that are not backed by studios and corporations I turn to the Internet to self-promote Slice Of Americana Films releases with advice from coproducer Tim Beachum (SEO Expert). I took notice when Keith Richman, CEO of Break.com, expressed frustration that his video site, “was dramatically underrepresented and misrepresented” by online audience measuring systems.
After reading this excellent article by Times reporter Dawn C. Chmielewski I started think of how what is happening with media giants in terms of distributing entertainment to online viewers relates to indie filmmakers. I immediately tossed out the advertisement dollars at stake because at the true independent level advertising revenue is not being shared with producers, unless you consider Google AdSense.
Where my focus went was to the debate on the number of viewers that were really being reached online. This is key information to know for companies that stream content for free solely to make money from advertisers, but there is an independent production side to the story too.
As an indie producer I cannot afford to give away free content that takes hard work, time, and money to create. There are no advertising dollars being deposited in my bank account to balance out the costs, pay people, and earn a living. What I do is create entertainment that viewers enjoy and are willing to pay for on VOD or digital download.
Back to the debate on the number of real online viewers for a site. Are companies dependent on advertising revenue and not sales of content over stating the paying demand for online content? Or is their take on things not making a difference between online viewers that buy content or watch content for free?
I would like to think that viewers are willing to pay for quality entertainment from indie producers online.
I personally do not think DVD is a dead format. It reminds of The Sky Is Falling with Chicken Little, but with online sites hungry for advertising money sending the message. Fantasy Striptease Private Shows on DVD is doing solid sales numbers every month, kept the DVD rights. Units are selling at a steady pace that tells me people still appreciate production value and not just viral videos.
It is a digital age and Slice Of Americana Films is always changing with tech trends. Productions range from content produced specifically for mobile viewing to VOD titles. Before signing a distribution deal coproducer of Consignment Tim Beachum had a wild tech idea. That is how I saw it. He streamed the entire opening 10 minutes of Consignment online for free. There were no ads or annoying pop ups. That was forward thinking on his part.
The response to this smaller budget movie was huge. Even if people did not like the strong subject matter they liked they were not being shown a trailer to sell them on the move. They could see exactly what they were getting if they bought it. We sold the DVD online ourselves with success. But every damn filmmaker wants their movie to be in stores, so a deal was signed to sell the rights to get it seen worldwide, which it is.
So my question is not are online viewers really watching, but are online viewers willing to pay for independently produced content? This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing FADE OUT