An Inside Look at VOD Distribution with Erik Anderson, Founder of Film Aggregator Quiver Digital

Erik Anderson, Founder of Quiver and Premiere Digital

 

Film Courage: What is Quiver Digital?

Quiver: Quiver is an independent film aggregator. It provides worldwide distribution of film and television distribution of film and television content across major digital download and streaming retailers. Quiver is both an encoding house and aggregator. We provide fast, cost-effective VOD distribution solutions for clients of all sizes. Simply enter the details of your film into our online order system, then upload all necessary assets. We’ll encode and package your film, then deliver it for sale on stores like iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. With one flat-rate price, you can distribute your film worldwide with Quiver.

Quiver allows filmmakers to choose distribution retailers, choose their territories, set a launch date, then submit their order. With Quiver, filmmakers are in complete control of their distribution strategy. Plus, Quiver charges one low flat fee allowing filmmakers keep 100% of their revenue. Quiver’s parent company, Premiere Digital, is one of the largest digital servicing companies in the world. So when you distribute your film through Quiver, you’re working with an industry leader.

Film Courage: Who started Quiver Digital?

Quiver: Erik Anderson started Quiver, and here is his statement on why:

My thesis was that there are more films made independently than with studios each year. But studios clearly have much more volume and consistent releases than independent filmmakers. So before I could work towards my goals of helping the independent filmmaker, I chose to establish Quiver’s parent company, Premiere Digital. Premiere’s clients are largely major studios and small independent distributors. Within 7 years Premiere has become one of the largest digital media servicing firms in the industry.

With the stability that our studio clients gave Premiere, I realized it was time to work on my original mission to help the indie filmmaker, so I launched Quiver.

Quiver has been operating quietly and largely in secret for the last six years. We’ve built up a client list of hundreds of filmmakers, thousands of titles, and have paid out millions of dollars… all through word of mouth. We’ve worked with major celebrities and total unknowns. We’ve been the engine behind many of our competitors.

One of the the other missions of Quiver is education. Whether you decide you are going to go through Quiver or not, you should use our tools, because they are free. Anybody can create an account, and through the first 9 steps, you can learn all of the assets that are actually required to deliver to certain retailers, certain territories and certain languages and the cost.

At Quiver, We want everyone to know that there is another option. There are better tools, faster paths, and honest answers. You don’t have to give up a part of your dream to make it possible for people to see it. Don’t sell your years of hard work for a small upfront payment and a vague promise that will most likely result in nothing. You made your movie. You had the vision. You should be the one to see it through to the end. You should keep as much of the reward as possible. I want to change this industry. That’s why I started Quiver.

 

“Today’s filmmakers have many options for distribution. You can still go the film festival route and get a distributor, but now you can also self-distribute or work with an aggregator like Quiver.”

Erik Anderson, Founder of Quiver and Premiere Digital

 

 

Film Courage: How is Quiver Digital different from other aggregators?

Quiver: Economics – Flat fee and no revenue share allow you to keep 100% of the sales revenue (after the retailer’s’ share of course).
Control – You’re in control! You decide where, when, and for how much you want to make your content available. While no one can guarantee all platforms take all content, Premiere Digital has a lot of experience and we share best practices with you throughout the process.

Rights – They are yours and with Premiere Digital they stay that way. We take no rights. Transparency – You can see what’s happening with all your titles at all times. One-Stop-Shop – Distribution deals, encoding, delivery, and tools all under one roof.

We offer the same pricing to independent filmmakers that we give to our large studio and distributor clients. Flat rate pricing makes it easy for filmmakers to budget and understand their costs. Since our goal is to make distribution as simple as possible for distributors, flat rate was the only way to go. We offer filmmakers complete control over how and where they release their film. That’s why Sundance’s Artist Service department choose Quiver to provide the technology for their filmmakers to access VOD distribution.

Film Courage: How long had you been a filmmaker before working in distribution?

Quiver: I was an editor for nearly a decade on and off.

Film Courage: Did you go to school for film? Did you believe you could make a living as a filmmaker? Is it possible for other filmmaker to make a living making films?

Quiver: I did not got to film school. I started in Los Angeles as an editor and had dreams of becoming a filmmaker myself. I soon realized that I did not have the talent to make a sustainable filmmaking career. But what I did have was an affinity for, and skills in, was technology.

My career lead me to Apple where I was one of the first employees of the iTunes movie store. In that role I would often hear from filmmakers who had no clear reporting or information about their earnings on iTunes when working with distributors.

I realized that it didn’t have to be this way. I could change it. I quit Apple and set myself on the goal of turning indie film distribution on its head.

Film Courage: At what point should a filmmaker begin looking into distribution for a specific movie?

Quiver: As soon as possible – it is best to start while the film is being made in order to create effective marketing opportunities.

Film Courage: What excites you about film distribution in 2016? Was this available for you upon making films?

Quiver: Today’s filmmakers have many options for distribution. You can still go the film festival route and get a distributor, but now you can also self-distribute or work with an aggregator like Quiver. In the past, DVD distribution played a large part in film distribution, but now more than 50% of Americans use some form of video-on-demand. It is the new, growing field in film distribution, and it opens up possibilities for filmmakers who may or may not have been able to get a distribution deal in the past. With VOD, filmmakers can maximize their opportunities for revenue, and this was not available before the rise in video streaming services of this century.

Film Courage: What does a filmmaker need to begin with Quiver Digital?

Quiver: A filmmaker needs artwork, video files, metadata, closed captions, subtitles and ratings, depending on the territories/retailers he or she chooses. We can provide closed captions, and subtitles for an extra fee.

Film Courage: What does Quiver Digital charge to take on a film? Do you accept short films? Is there a minimum length for acquisition?

Quiver: One retailer for one film is $1,395. Short Films are $795. There is no minimum length for acquisition.

Film Courage: Is this a one-time fee? Are other fees involved?

Quiver: We have a flat-rate fee for the first retailer. There are other fees for delivery on multiple platforms and territories at a later time. We also charge for creation of assets if needed. Our full pricelist is available here.

Film Courage: What will Quiver Digital do upon acquiring the film?

Quiver: The first thing we do is check and conform all assets. Often, we will discover an issue that requires action on the part of the filmmaker, and will reach out. This process can take days or weeks, depending on the quality of assets received our workload. Once we have finished mastering assets, then we deliver the film the various platforms. We’ll encode and package your film, then deliver it for sale on stores like iTunes and Amazon. Once we make deliveries, retailers require 30 days to ingest and put a title live.

Film Courage: Will a filmmaker working with Quiver Digital be assigned their own personal account manager or point of contact?

Quiver: If a filmmaker needs assistance, he or she can chat with us online or email us at support@quiversupport.zendesk.com with the issue and we will assign an account manager to assist you.

Film Courage: What are common mistakes filmmakers should avoid if seeking effective distribution?

Quiver: Filmmakers need to choose between self-distribution or working with a distributor. If they choose to go with self-distribution, they need to educate themselves on more of the technical assets including closed captions, subtitles, assets etc. One of the most common mistakes regardless of the method of distribution is not being prepared for the marketing required for their film to succeed. They need to have word of mouth/social media efforts in place to find their audience. Filmmakers should use any opportunity available as a marketing tool, and keep notes of production, film behind-the-scenes videos, create artwork, cast bios and more.

Film Courage: How many filmmakers fall short in their initial marketing attempts despite the film’s excellence due to an ineffective trailer and/or synopsis?

Quiver: Many make the mistake of not effectively testing their trailer and synopsis on social media or initial audiences. Filmmakers should always use their built-in audience to test these tools and see which works best.

Film Courage: What are common mistakes filmmakers make when entering into a distribution deal?

Quiver: Three aspects to keep in mind are: Rights & Territories, Marketing Spend and Commitment and Minimum Guarantee. One of the advantages of working with Quiver Digital is that we have split rights deals in terms of territories. When entering a distribution deal, often you are restricted to certain territories with the amount of money you spend. With Quiver, you can expand to multiple territories easily. You can also run into problems with minimum guarantee and transparency with accounting, which is why it is important to see your financial data.

Film Courage: Can you tell us how Quiver Digital became a part of Premiere Digital?

Quiver: Quiver was founded by Erik Anderson along with Premiere Digital. We launched publicly in late 2015 although Quiver has been working with independent filmmakers for the past few years.

Film Courage: Can you share how Quiver Digital is introducing a new model of film distribution through VOD? App Development?

Quiver: Quiver makes VOD distribution simple with our modern, easy to use, cloud-based web interface that gives the filmmaker complete control. You can upload assets and video files of any size from anywhere using our step by step process. Quiver makes distribution fast and easy for anyone. Quiver gives independent filmmakers and small distributors the worldwide reach that was previously only available to large studios. With digital distribution, we can take your film to audiences in over 60 countries around the world. For English language films, you can reach 57 countries without the need for any translation services. Pay one flat rate to distribute your film online. After your film is live, you keep 100% of all revenue. It has never been so easy to access worldwide film distribution!

 

“Windowing is also a great strategy for releasing your film. Think about your film’s topic and when would be the ideal time for interest. For example, horror films can do very well around Halloween, and sports documentaries should be released during the season they are played. This can also be applied to choosing different release dates across different VOD platforms. Ideally we recommend releasing on TVOD (transactional video-on demand) platforms first, then cable VOD platforms, then SVOD platforms (subscription-based video-on demand) to maximize the possible revenue you can earn.”

Erik Anderson, Founder of Quiver and Premiere Digital

 

Film Courage: On Quiver Digital’s blog you share monthly marketing strategies for filmmakers. What are some main points to be aware of when marketing a film? How can Quiver Digital be of service?

Quiver: Quiver can help every film find its audience by making worldwide distribution easy for all filmmakers For a flat fee, you can sell your film on Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon and be pitched to curated retailers like Microsoft. It is important to be aware that marketing opportunities are everywhere when making a film. You should be creative and think of all aspects of marketing that could advertise your film – search, social, paid ads, email, events, etc. Remember that you are telling a story and any extra content can help. You can share cast bios, production diaries, notes, photos, etc. on social media accounts for free. We are currently working on blog posts with ideas from all of these different kinds of marketing so stay tuned for that here!

Windowing is also a great strategy for releasing your film. Think about your film’s topic and when would be the ideal time for interest. For example, horror films can do very well around Halloween, and sports documentaries should be released during the season they are played. This can also be applied to choosing different release dates across different VOD platforms. Ideally we recommend releasing on TVOD (transactional video-on demand) platforms first, then cable VOD platforms, then SVOD platforms (subscription-based video-on demand) to maximize the possible revenue you can earn.

Film Courage: For readers new to distribution, can you define what an aggregator does? What is encoding?

Quiver: As an aggregator, Quiver secures placement on the VOD platforms that your film or series will eventually live on. We coordinate deliveries and ensure that pricing, artwork, and metadata are all accurate so that your film is presented the way you see fit for consumers to rent or download.

Encoding involves converting media into specific formats required for platforms. We deliver films to the platforms so you can focus on what you do best – filmmaking.

Film Courage: What are some technical details that filmmakers need to be aware of upon delivery of their master to Quiver Digital?

Quiver: The most common issues we encounter with films we receive have to do with improper file formats, missing or incorrectly labeled audio, and video corruption. These are issues that we cannot fix in-house, and will often require us to ask for a new source. New source requests can delay your release, and multiple QC’s for the same asset or certain repairs can also incur additional charges. The majority of these issues can be caught by filmmakers before submission, so please carefully review all orders, materials, and metadata before completing your order.

Film Courage: When submitting to Quiver Digital, is it an issue if the movie’s master is film versus digital?

Quiver: Well, we are a digital company, so yes, if your master is still in film, you would need to convert it to digital to submit to us! We do not ingest film masters, only digital. The specifications can be found here.

Film Courage: Can you share one or two recent Quiver Digital success stories?

Quiver: Froning” – Rich Froning Jr. entered the 2014 CrossFit Games competition with three consecutive victories, an unprecedented feat. After discovering CrossFit in 2009, Froning began a history-making career, finishing second at the CrossFit Games in 2010 and dominating all competition for the next four years. His four titles, five trips to the podium, 16 event wins, 35 top-five event finishes and 45 top-10 event finishes are all record-breaking. Froning’s athletic prowess has been under the microscope for five years, but there’s much more to the man from Tennessee than snatches and pull-ups. In this in-depth documentary by Heber Cannon, take a look into the life and childhood of the fittest man in history. Follow this revered man’s quest to a fourth straight CrossFit Games championship as well as his personal life as a son, husband and new father.

Holy Hell” – In 1985, recent film school graduate Will Allen became a member of “The Buddhafield”, a Los Angeles area spiritual group. As the group’s official videographer, he began to document their activities, which centered on the mysterious leader they called Michel, or The Teacher. Over time, the group’s dark side began to surface as total devotion turned to paranoia, until finally, unexpected truths about their enlightened leader were revealed — all while Allen’s camera was rolling. This incredible, 22-year archive of video footage became the basis for HOLY HELL. Now, for the first time since he left the group, Allen turns the camera on himself and asks fellow ex-cult members to come to terms with their past and the unbelievable deceit they experienced.

Film Courage: What do filmmakers fear most at this point in their film’s life cycle? How can Quiver Digital be of service?

Quiver: Filmmakers fear a lack of success and career longevity. They are afraid no one will find or appreciate their film. We are able to help them with this by easily allowing them to make their film available worldwide and giving them distribution access. Quiver can also provide marketing and help filmmakers find an audience for their independent films through VOD distribution on platforms like iTunes, Google Play and Amazon; lesser known platforms like Vimeo, Hoopla, Steam, Vudu, Microsoft, and Sony and cable networks like InDemand, DirecTV, Dish and Vubiquity.

Film Courage: What if a filmmaker wants international distribution, but the film is in English? Do they need to hire a translator? What if the film is in another language and they want English translation?

Quiver: A filmmaker can choose to submit subtitles in different languages so that other countries can enjoy his or her film. We can also create them for your film for an extra fee. You can also include English subtitles or we can create them for you.

Film Courage: Is there anything else you’d like to add about what Quiver Digital can offer filmmakers?

Quiver: We have a free ebook on Digital Distribution available on our website — just scroll down and enter your email to receive the ebook. As we mentioned before, we blog about marketing strategies monthly, and advertise some of our films on our social media platforms. In the future, we plan to offer webinars and other training for filmmakers. We are always looking for partners, so if you have ideas on how you’d like to work with us, feel free to email info@quiverdigital.com. We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

About Quiver:

Quiver helps filmmakers to distribute to worldwide audiences via video on demand retailers like iTunes, Google Play, and Netflix. Quiver manages all of the technical requirements, allowing you to focus on marketing your film and building a relationship with your audience. Quiver allows filmmakers to choose distribution retailers, choose their territories, set a launch date, and then submit their order. With Quiver, filmmakers are in complete control of their distribution strategy and filmmakers are charged one low flat fee allowing them to keep 100% of their revenue. Quiver’s parent company, Premiere Digital, is one of the largest digital servicing companies in the world. So when you distribute your film through Quiver, you’re working with an industry leader.

About Premiere Digital:

Premiere Digital is one of the largest digital media, solutions and content servicing companies in the world, with 100 employees located between our Los Angeles Headquarters and facility in Bangalore, India. Premiere works with every major studio and 100’s of independent distributors (located worldwide), providing solutions and servicing their content to 100’s of digital retailers and broadcasters across the globe. Not only that, Premiere is a Preferred encoding house and aggregator for iTunes and Google Play, a Netflix Preferred Vendor for media servicing and a preferred aggregator for Microsoft.

 

 

CONNECT WITH QUIVER DIGITAL:

QuiverDigital.com
Quiver Digital Facebook

 

 

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