YouTube recently added rentals to their streaming portfolio, and with a catalogue of outdoor adventure videos that were basically sitting dormant here, I decided to bring the entire video series into the new Millennium- including direct sales on Amazon, streaming on Amazon Unbox, rentals on YouTube and availability on Netflix’ portfolio.
I’m in the finishing the Amazon process with my first video there, and was just notified that two of my videos were approved for rental on YouTube. I creates a special dedicated page on the Wilderness Adventures Off The Beaten Path® web site to promote these rentals and I have plans on making the entire video series available this way in due time.
It’s very interesting to me the differences between the services, and the various requirements each has, but the others don’t. Specifically, Netflix has a 60-minute minimum requirement. Now, I can see this if it were a DVD. Mailing around a DVD with just a 30 minute video on it sort of defeats the purpose. But with streaming video, there’s no need for such a requirement. The video can be any length at all. I’ve e-mailed Netflix about this but have not received a reply.
You Tube requires a bit of information attesting to the fact that you do actually own the media, audio, video, logos, etc in the work you are going to charge for. That makes sense and I do have releases and contracts for everything in my video series. Then you submit for approval and after a few days, it’s approved.
Amazon hands you over to a different company- CreateSpace. They handle book publishing, DVD burning and fulfillment of orders made on Amazon.com. They also handle the ingest of video media for rental on Amazon Unbox. As I’ll be also distributing physical DVD’s through them, I am in the process of submitting and revising artwork to conform to their requirements. When that’s finalized, it should be a short trip to online availability.
This process is just getting started. I am also in the middle of work on the HD version of our best-selling title, Dalton Highway. When this is completed, there’ll be a whole new round of submissions and compression for the web, and this time, it will be a sizable file to be wrangled. It is our hope to ride the wave of streaming media, and use these large purveyors of media to get our videos in front of more people, with zero delivery and fulfillment effort on our part.
On the other end, there’s the cost to viewers. I agree with the 99¢ price for a rental. I’d actually like more, but wen you think about it, it’s additional eyeballs paying me just to watch the show, again. I’m not physically delivering anything and, for the most part, the consumer doesn’t get to keep anything.
Consumers can get $4.99 DVD’s down in a bin at Walmart. So I can’t understand content producers charging $2.99 for a single episode of Burn Notice on Amazon. Especially when Netflix has an all-you-can-eat buffet stating at $9.99 a month.
I once figured this out the other way around. A syndicated cable series can get around $500,000 an episode. Big series like Battlestar Galactica were costing about $1,200,00 an episode at the end. But they had a huge audience- over 20 million viewers at one point. So what would it cost each fan to have a new episode delivered right to their e-mail? I mean, eliminate the network completely- just the production studio, a web site and registered fans. If all the fans collected together and paid for a season, what would each episode cost when delivered? Just 60¢ a person- and they could KEEP it.
And that 1.2 million dollar cost includes profit for the production studio, everyone’s wages, props, costumes and making sure everyone made the living they expected working in the production business. So I just do not understand the large studio mentality of charging over a dollar for an episode when the major costs have already be covered by product placement, advertisements, etc. How many times do they want to be paid over and again for the same piece of content. And then let me sell you the DVD collection.(okay, yes, I understand it, but I do not condone it.)
So I’ve priced my rentals at the loweest YouTube allows- 99¢. I’ll only see a small fraction of that, but, in the end, they handle the bulk of everything once it’s uploaded. It’s like the music model- musicians making only a couple pennies every time their song is played on the radio. And even then, musicians will tell you that they never even see all those“rights fees” that are collected.
So it’s all about exposure and interest. And with the internet, exposure is pretty easy, the difficulty is getting found.