VOD, FTW? (Part II)

Not too long ago, I wrote about the process of putting my feature debut on VOD. It’s not a bad little blog post, and I encourage you to read it, if for no other reason than for context on this post.

I kind of figured the issue of VOD would be settled for a bit. Dynamo makes a good, clean player. Now all that was left to do was sit back and let the money roll in (right, Sheri Candler?). But it seemed like as soon as I hit “publish”, the game changed.

Enter, Distrify.

Basically, Distrify is pretty similar to Dynamo, but with a couple of key features. Namely, you can up-sell DVDs, Merch, etc, inside the player.

Obviously, this is a great help, as you can get someone to embed the player on their site and the audience doesn’t have to find their way back to your site just to buy something. It’s all in one easy-to-manage embed code. It’s one of those things that really should have been standard a year ago. But, better late than never.

It’s also really, really easy to embed on Facebook.

Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 10.54.40 AM

That’s not even the important part. Distrify lets you set up people (or, rather, let’s them set up themselves) as affiliates. Basically, if you host the embed code of my film on your site, you get a cut of the money when someone rents via that player. The implications are obvious. What’s a better motivator than money? (Answer: almost nothing).

If I’m understanding it correctly, you can even get paid on Twitter/Facebook referrals, which is pretty awesome.

The minimum affiliate fee is 5%. Distrify does a 70%/30% split overall (which is pretty much standard now), and they’ll actually 50/50 split the affiliate fee with you, which is nice.

I set my Affiliate cut at 30%, which is really high, mostly because our goal is to see what does and doesn’t work in advance of UP COUNTRY. So if you got your audience motivated, you could make some beer money with not much work.


Thing is, your average audience member doesn’t care about all that. For them, the experience is key. What does the player look like? What does it do? Let’s see.

Here’s the Distrify player.

And here, for comparison, is the Dynamo player:

Basically, what you’ve got here is form vs. function. The Dynamo player looks a hell of a lot better, but the Distrify player does a hell of a lot more. So right now, my guess is it’ll come down to what your priority is.

Or, one of them could adopt from the other. That’d be nice.


As promised, let’s look at some stats. The Distrify player has just gone live, so we don’t have anything substantial there, but Dynamo has been up since May 25th. Not a lot of time, for sure, but it’s something to look at.

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Obviously, we’re not going to be buying any sports cars just yet. The player loads kind of make things hard to read, so let’s zoom in.

Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 10.45.34 AM

Again, not good numbers. Then again, is anyone really sure what good numbers are? Honestly, I haven’t got a clue if we’re doing well or not, compared to what our expectations should be. And that’s kind of the point of this.

We’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, it’d be really great if you checked out the movie. It’s a hell of a bargain. And the more rentals we get, the more motivated I’ll be to post more updates (hint, hint).

Or, better yet, why not trying out the player on your blog and see if you can’t rake in some affiliate cash?

Filmmaker Lucas McNelly is spending a year on the road, volunteering on indie film projects around the country, documenting the process and the exploring the idea of a mobile creative professional. You can see more from A Year Without Rent at the webpage. His feature-length debut is now available to rent on VOD. Follow him on Twitter: @lmcnelly.