In our direct distribution roundup, we went over IndieFlix as basically the 'indie version of Netflix.' Subscribers pay $5 per month or $50 per year to stream an ever-expanding library of films. This may sound familiar, but unlike everybody's favorite binge-watching enabler, IndieFlix makes earning money for independent filmmakers central to its mission. You can stream on any device with an internet connection, but IndieFlix is still missing a proper mobile app -- and that's where you come in. Though an app is already in the works, IndieFlix has embarked on an Indiegogo campaign to help it reach or surpass its development goals even sooner.
Other than being really, really serious about handing out as much money as possible to indie filmmakers -- sometimes literally, if you didn't believe them before -- IndieFlix is rather unique for both film viewers and creators. How, exactly? Well, for one thing:
Content Creators Are Paid-per-Minute Watched
As a viewer/subscriber, IndieFlix is like having a film festival brought to you, on demand, all-you-can-watch, for a flat rate. As a filmmaker, IndieFlix is a way to both get your movie seen and get paid for it. But that's like -- having your cake and eating it too! As we explained earlier, IndieFlix pays royalties to filmmakers by a revenue per minute or "RPM" model.
It goes like this: a percentage of the site's subscription revenue gets pooled monthly for royalties. This pool is then divided by the total minutes watched site-wide that month. That number is multiplied by the total number of minutes your content was watched that month, and the resulting figure is what you walk away with in-pocket. In other words: your piece of the pie grows in direct proportion to the amount your movie is watched. Not just how many times it is watched, but for how long it is watched as well. If this sounds pretty cool, just wait. There's more --
IndieFlix Encourages You to Find New Films -- & Filmmakers
One of the IndieFlix's key features is its sorting technique. You can browse by title and genre of course, but you can also limit by length. At first this just seems obvious, it's so simple. But there's something exciting to telling a video service how much time you have to watch (or waste) and seeing something you might have never found otherwise. Who knows, maybe you'll be so impressed that you become a life-long fan of the director -- then proceed to buy the movie, and every other movie they've made, and tell all your friends about them for good measure. This exploration factor can mutually benefit all parties involved.
A common and decidedly different online distribution strategy charges a fixed price for persistent ownership of a given title -- pretty much the virtual version of "buying the DVD." For an example of this technique, see our very own Micah Van Hove's recent web launch of his first feature film Menthol on Vimeo VOD & Reelhouse. All payout models have upsides and downsides. Remember, though, you're able to persistently earn revenue for each and every minute ever watched of your movie on IndieFlix, forever. Combine this with an ecosystem that encourages viewers to discover new content, and IndieFlix could become a way to extend the 'life' of a self-released film -- financially and invisibility.
Coming Soon: An App for That. Special Thanks: You
All of this seems like it would go really well with a mobile app for streaming on the go. Especially if it works anything like this:
There aren't a whole lot of ways independent filmmakers can realistically expect to make money off of their short films. YouTube is one. Vimeo is another. IndieFlix is looking to be yet one more. That fact alone is reason enough for this app to exist, preferably sooner rather than later. Just as importantly, the service is also trying to provide a place you can be braver as a viewer and take a chance on something new. How often do you find yourself playing a game of "Netflix roulette" -- setting out to specifically watch something you haven't heard of? Instead of, say, only looking for things you specifically have already heard of and that you've been meaning to watch? If you're like me, never. That's just not what Netflix is for, or at least that's not the way I use it.
On the other hand, that's what IndieFlix is for. Sure you can explore video content on YouTube and Vimeo, and yes, do so for free. The difference is that every short, feature, and doc on IndieFlix has to be submitted for acceptance and approved. Not every film will make it into the library, so you can't stumble across something made by 'just anybody.' An IndieFlix subscriber can't necessarily browse elsewhere on the internet with that same confidence -- if you've been on "the wrong side of YouTube" at any point in your life, this may resonate with you. And again, nothing gets watched on IndieFlix without its creator getting paid for it. But the IndieFlix mobile app is needed to complete the experience for current subscribers, and to help attract new ones. The more paying subscribers, the more filmmakers earn for each minute watched.
There's under a week left to go for the Indiegogo campaign, which has raised a bit over half of its goal so far. However, there's still plenty of time to contribute. If you'd like to help IndieFlix build its app better and faster -- or sign up for a subscription, or even just browse the catalog -- check out the links below.