How to Create a DIY VOD Portal

As is apparent in my post on Google TV, I'm excited about the future of VOD and what it could mean for independent film. Not because of cable companies and VOD channels like IFC and Sundance, but because a device like Google TV should allow us to surpass gatekeepers and deliver our content directly to the audience -- without a middle man taking a cut. I've got some ideas in this space that I'll be building out once my own feature reaches the distribution stage, but for now, Zak Forsman has posted an awesome tutorial at the Workbook Project on how to build your own streaming pay-site:

About a year ago, there was a lot of talk about the merging of broadband internet and the televisions in our living rooms. That has since been subplanted by a shift in focus toward the creative process and making better films. However, when Google TV was announced not long ago for a Fall release, I found myself revisiting the importance of discovery and distribution for a 24 hour period in which I built my own video on demand portal. If Google TV is able to populate amongst our TVs and other home theater devices as quickly as Netflix Watch Instantly did, we could be having some interesting conversations a year from now.

Zak goes step-by-step through setting up Amazon S3 cloud storage as well as the paid-content Wordpress plugin S2 Member. As it is today, DIY streaming solutions are going to be cobbled together by tech-savvy filmmakers like Zak. However, emerging players like Dynamo Player (not to mention YouTube Rentals) are looking to fill the space as a sort of new middleman that only delivers 1s and 0s (which costs very, very little). In fact, if you use Amazon S3 -- as we did to deliver all of our video files on The West Side -- it only costs $0.15 per GB. Yet these services want a 30% cut (in the case of Dynamo) for delivering digital files? That seems like too high a percentage considering "shelf" space is infinite and bandwidth costs very little. I think I've got a better idea. ;)

Yes, that was the first emoticon that's ever appeared on No Film School. Sorry.

Link: How To Build Your Own VOD Portal (in a matter of hours for less than $100)

Your Comment


Very nice. Looking fwd to yours (and other) solutions to this problem.

July 7, 2010 at 12:19PM, Edited September 4, 7:26AM


Great post !!! ...YOU TUBE RENTALS : is Google taking a 30% cut for this service too?

September 29, 2011 at 5:01PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


We're facing a real problem here if traditional distributors wedge themselves between Google Apple etc and the Indies.

If we move from the traditional model to a new model employing the same players wishing to grab their cut and then find our WINDOWS lost, DVD, TV etc through the new rights deals, we will see the official death of indie cinema.

We MUST force a deal direct with these players and if they will not comply, seek to achieve direct distribution via our own portals by developing fan bases during development.

June 7, 2012 at 8:04PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM