Where do you watch documentaries? Docs aren't big-ticket sellers in the movie theater. Traditionally, TV broadcast is the platform of most exposure, but for those of us who stream a majority of our content from various Netflix/Hulu/Amazon subscriptions, how would you feel about a doc-specific subscription service that is free?
Cinedigm, a burgeoning content aggregator/distributor who has over the past three years acquired New Video, Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment, and Docurama, announced they will be turning the latter into an ad-supported free streaming channel dedicated to documentaries. Last year, Cinedigm launched a pay-per-view Docurama channel on YouTube that brought titles liked How to Die in Oregon and Gasland to your for a $2.99 monthly subscription. Now, Cinedigm announced that they will be swapping out their YouTube channel for a free streaming channel that you can get on, well, basically any device you are currently using to stream content to your gogglebox of choice.
The model is similar to the basic Hulu system, except focused on documentaries, and some good ones at that. According to Cinedigm's press release on Docurama:
Expanding access to and awareness for non-fiction entertainment has been a longstanding mission of the Docurama brand and this release marks an important milestone for the brand in connecting mobile and tablet users with award winning, critically acclaimed documentary films. This announcement follows on the heels of ten Docurama titles receiving nominations for the 35th Annual News & Documentary Emmys®, including Invisible War, Valentine Road, Gasland Part II, Pussy Riot, The World Before Her, Chasing Ice, Girl Rising, Detropia, The Waiting Room and Beauty is Embarrassing.
According to Indiewire, Docurama will also feature content like behind-the-scenes interviews with filmmakers and festival programmers that would definitely be something new. While it's not clear yet what the reinvented Docurama channel will mean to documentary filmmakers, if its model is similar to Hulu -- which offers a 50/50 split of ad revenue -- it could certainly mean more opportunities for documentary filmmakers to get their films seen and make money back on them. And for documentary enthusiasts, it could be great.
Where do you watch your documentaries? As a doc-fan or filmmaker, what aspects of a streaming channel would you like to see make a dent in the media landscape?