Direct Distribution Just Went Mobile: VHX Adds iOS & Roku

VHX on Roku
VHX is quickly distinguishing themselves as a leader in the direct-distribution game. After raising $5 million more venture capital, a new iOS app and now Roku, the experimental company's experiment is working.

VHX had a great 2014, blowing away the numbers from previous years. The number of VHX customers and publishers tripled in 2014 and they reached that all-important milestone of 1 million users, more than 60,000 of which own two or more pieces of content. They earned $4.7 million in sales last year alone. Those are big numbers for a company who was just a nascent startup in 2011.

VHX 2014 Stats

With the addition of iOS and Roku, this makes VHX one of the most (if not the most) ubiquitous direct-distribution platforms in the world. The list of ways to experience films via VHX is only getting longer:

  • Desktop Computers
  • iOS / Apple AirPlay
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku
  • Blu-Ray/DVD Player
  • Smart TV
  • Xbox 360
  • PS3

While there's much to be argued about the quality of the cinematic experience on a phone, at least iPhone screens are getting larger. You can also stream content on VHX from an iOS device to a television with Apple Airplay. For Android users, VHX is working on an app for you too, which we'll know about in the near future. 

The broad compatibility, transparency and increasing brand recognition of VHX makes it one of the most desirable options for filmmakers who want to go the direct distribution route. And, at 10% + 50¢ per transaction, VHX's service is still competitively priced, only being beat by Gumroad's 5% + 25¢ per transaction.     

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I was studying some direct distributors that occasionally popup on NFS. I visited their web pages and the first thing I saw was the long bla bla text about the company and the upload content form, apart from that the websites did not have a presentable store or product catalogues or any presence of marketing schemes. It seemed that they don't care about the guy who wants to spend couple of bucks for an indie movie, but they care about getting the content (no matter how good or bad it is).
Moreover almost all of the direct distributors do nothing to attractt their customers and do nothing to promote their platform or create awareness. Some of the services that NFS was writing about in 2013 do not exist anymore in 2015. Everyone knows youtube and vimeo, but I haven't met people who can name at least one distributor like VHX. I don't know about US but in Europe and across the whole Asia there is no any awareness of such services. How the hell I can trust the content to someone who can't promote his/her business. As a MIP member I get spam emails from different "traditional distributors" who are looking for content, even the shities one appears more trusting and profitable as they present both on professional and consumer platforms. So far I would go with the most popular platform such as youtube or vime or a traditional root.

January 15, 2015 at 6:57AM

Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio

On the thoughts about cinema on a phone...I was quite surprised how "complete" the experience felt watching an episode of Ken Burns "Jazz" on my iPhone 6+. I didn't miss any information, visual or audio and watched it in an environment where anything much larger would have been intrusive...Certainly not my 1st choice for a "movie experience", but not bad either!

January 15, 2015 at 12:02PM


I think that people often confuse distribution. They think if you put up your film on iTunes or VHX it will immediately make money. But that's not true. Distribution is virtually worthless without marketing. If you can market your film well, it doesn't really matter what platform your on.

January 15, 2015 at 3:26PM

Zachary Will

The distributor must take care of marketing(festivals, tv markets, summits, screenings), at least the distributors we work with do it. Moreover a distributor may assist with dubbing to reach wider audiences. Othetwise why do they charge the content producers. If it doesn't generate income during two year distribution than why bother continuing business. Itunes and utube is a different story since they have a big audience, VHX and similar services are not even close, thus they better to provide somet marketing help. Well you can put another couple of dislikes but that doesn't change the industry.

January 16, 2015 at 7:38AM

Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio

Hear, hear.

January 20, 2015 at 9:34AM


Ok, I'm a late comer who has never heard of VFX. I signed up online - each field in the registration form is on a new page. So you can't use software like 1password to fill in your details or supply your password with one click.

Then once logged in a went to "discover." The only obvious way I could see of finding out what a video is a bout is to click on it and watch the trailer, a terribly time-consuming endeavour endeavour. What wrong with a capsule summary?

Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but there was no obvious way to do it better.

The website reminds me of the old days when web designers were more in love with the artiness of their creation than its usability. I thought those days were behind us.

January 16, 2015 at 1:36PM

Dan Horne