As the tools available to the independent filmmaker expand and improve, so do a number of services facilitating direct distribution. Several non-Louis C.K. success stories have emerged, often emphasizing the benefits of crowdfunding and the importance of social media outreach. One such service, VHX, has recently posted a tip we don't hear quite as often. It's something that seems totally obvious -- and is comparatively ancient as far as actual technology is concerned -- but can, according to VHX, greatly impact the success of directly distributed media. The tip? Adding subtitles to your film.
VHX has powered the release of films such as Indie Game: The Movie, Dave Grohl's Sound City, TPB: AFK, and Shane Carruth's Upstream Color, among others. According to a recent post on the VHX blog, the addition of something as simple as subtitles can substantially increases sales simply because they allow your film to reach a wider audience. According to VHX, 48% of sales come from outside of the US on their platform. Check it out (text is truncated, infographic appears courtesy VHX):
Your international audience is on average twice as likely to purchase your film after visiting your website when subtitles are available in their language. Check out the data for this VHX film, whose international conversion rates jumped after the creators added subtitles in extra languages:
You might be thinking, "well, duh," and if you're deep in the process of self-distributing a film, this is likely something you've already considered. However, for those who have not yet tackled the greatest possible undertaking an indie filmmaker could attempt (aside, of course, from actually making a film,) this is great advice. That assumes that you haven't made a silent film, or cast multi-lingual actors that have signed on to handle foreign language dubbing for you.
VHX offers a link to help creators troubleshoot the subtitling process tech-wise, and indicates that it will post more data on the benefits of subtitling as it is gathered. Be sure to check out the full post as well!