Netflix, Amazon & Hulu: Distribution 101

Hosted by Chad Miller

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Chad Miller

Webinar hosted by: Chad Miller

Founder and Manager at Cinema Machine Management

My name is Chad Miller I have been working in the entertainment industry for more than 15 years. For the past baker's dozen of those years my career has been specifically focused on the business of on-demand entertainment. Back in 2002 cable companies were just beginning to explore the possibilities of "on-demand" entertainment. In fact, primarily content was available on a Pay-Per-View basis with customers being forced to press 'play' at a very specific time when the next available version of whatever they might want to watch would be made available. At iN Demand I helped schedule the content for availability, trying to squeeze in as many opportunities for customers to watch popular movies as the system would allow. For instance, if SPIDER-MAN (2002) has a run-time of 2 hours and 1 minute and iN Demand was willing to dedicate 4 different PPV channels to offering that film, my job was to work with the system administrators to schedule it as many times as possible. It was an infuriating experience for customers who could not pause the content and had to sit-down in front of their televisions (and only televisions) at a very specific time, pre-determined by yours truly. Thankfully the true promise of an on-demand business landscape soon emerged and I joined the team at AT&T U-verse where I helped that product from it's conception with just 32,000 test subscribers in Texas to a point six years later when the service was available nationwide and had nearly 4 million active subscribers. At AT&T I worked with all of the major studios ensuring that both their big tentpole titles were available to customers and also helped evaluate new content from new content aggregators and distributors. Which is how, after six years with AT&T, I found myself joining a small, independent distribution company called Gravitas Ventures. I was their 5th employee and during the time I was with their team it grew to more than 20 employees and was twice listed on Inc Magazine's "Fastest Growing Companies". That's a metric based largely on revenues, not employees. At Gravitas I was the person that sought out content for distribution at film festivals and also simply through referrals from executives at Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. Presently I am an independent consultant providing distribution strategy advice to a wide range of people, from independent content creators, to established production companies looking to re-evaluate their distribution process, to encoding vendors who are seeking to bridge the gap between content creators and the platforms where customers are going. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

There are thousands of shows and films to watch on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other streaming platforms. Now, more than ever, there is a constant stream of incredible stories being told by content creators from all over the world. It is safe to say that there is something for everyone when it comes to this new form of distribution. But that doesn't mean you can just call up a streaming service and request a meeting! So, how do you get your story on a streaming platform for all the world to see?

You need to understand the hurdles that content creators face in getting their product on these important streaming platforms and how to overcome them. Understanding the business structure of these top three players is key for you to break in, get your film or series seen through this distribution option and make money by doing so. It's important that you understand the global structure of these streamers, how they choose their content and what potential revenue might be for you as a filmmaker.

Chad Miller has been working in the entertainment industry for more than 15 years and the bulk of his experience has been specifically focused on the business of on-demand entertainment. He's worked with Gravitas Ventures distribution specializing in Amazon, Hulu and Netflix and prior to that was with AT&T working with all the major studios ensuring that both their big tentpole titles were available to customers and also helped evaluate new content from new content aggregators and distributors. Now, he's bringing his extensive and specialized knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community.

Chad will be discussing the broad differences between Amazon, Hulu and Netflix and how each of these streaming platforms select their content. You will learn the business structures of each of these platforms, what your distribution reach is and what your revenue expectations are as a content creator on these payment structures. You'll even walk away knowing international distribution options and ways you can negotiate the best deal. 

If you are a screenwriter, filmmaker, producer, or content creator hoping will find a home on Netflix, Amazon or Hulu this is your ultimate guide to understanding how you can make that happen!

 

What You'll Learn

Amazon, Hulu & Netflix – What Are They & How Can You Get Your Content There?

In this first section Chad will be discussing the broad differences between the three of the top platforms and the hurdles that content creators face in getting their product on these important VOD shelves.

  • Explain the differences between Amazon, Hulu & Netflix from a customer POV.
    • Amazon & Amazon Prime: Transactional VOD and Subscription structures.
    • Hulu & Hulu Plus: “Free” AVOD & Subscription structures.
    • Netflix: SVOD model.
    • By the numbers: how many subscribers does each platform have? Graph will be provided.
  • Illustrate how the business structures for Amazon, Hulu & Netflix work in terms of deal making with content providers.
    • Discuss the Amazon Video Direct (aka Create Space system). [NC-17 versus NR ratings game.]
    • Hulu selects content through a pitching process from their regular content aggregators and studios. [What happens when content creators approach Hulu directly? Illustrate how content creators can use Hulu to create a list of their current approved content aggregators and studios.]
    • Netflix content selection history to their present highly selective curation model.
  • Cite statistics on how many films get picked up by each platform out of the regular flow of new release content. This will be represented in visual graph format.
  • Distribution reach for Amazon (WW, but primarily US, Canada, Germany, Austria, Japan), Hulu (US & Japan, perhaps Canada in a few years) & Netflix (WW).

Revenue Expectations For Content Creators

  • Explain the differences in how Amazon, Hulu & Netflix pay the revenues.
    • Content aggregators - accounts payable structure.
    • Direct delivery to Amazon or Hulu – accounts payable structure & metrics
    • Basics of Amazon Instant payment structure as of May 2016 for Content Creators using Amazon Direct.
    • Hulu & Hulu Plus payment structures.
    • Netflix payment structure and the scenario in which a Content Aggregator or Distributor “buys out” the Netflix window.
    • The distinction between using a Content Aggregator or Distributor and self-distributing and pitfalls to avoid.
  • Realistic expectations on returns for the indie filmmaker.
    • Creating a budget for a realistic ROI.
    • How to increase your odds of breaking through the clutter of VOD/SVOD/AVOD to recoup your production and distribution costs.
    • Of the last 100 recently released Independent films, I will provide my estimations on the percentage of films that will earn more than $1M, in the mid-six-figures and less than $100k.
    • Examples of where to find competitive intelligence on which films are winning in the VOD space.

The Road Ahead – What Content Creators Should Be Watching

Beyond Amazon, Hulu & Netflix there are a world of smaller opportunities…

  • In this 5-part section Chad will go over multiple examples of new resources and the basic overview of what to expect. This will include global markets for all different kinds of content, not just film.

Closing Comments

  • General words of advice on SVOD opportunities and deal negotiations (contract terms, territories, hidden fees).
  • Understand the specific costs of distribution.
  • Understand your international distribution options. Specifically, discuss international localization costs for Netflix and requirements for others.
  • Always budget funds for self-distribution just in case your film/show does not get “picked-up”, what to do if it does.
  • Overview and analysis looking at the industry itself and changes that could potentially come.

Q&A with Chad

About Your Instructor

My name is Chad Miller I have been working in the entertainment industry for more than 15 years. For the past baker's dozen of those years my career has been specifically focused on the business of on-demand entertainment. Back in 2002 cable companies were just beginning to explore the possibilities of "on-demand" entertainment. In fact, primarily content was available on a Pay-Per-View basis with customers being forced to press 'play' at a very specific time when the next available version of whatever they might want to watch would be made available. At iN Demand I helped schedule the content for availability, trying to squeeze in as many opportunities for customers to watch popular movies as the system would allow. For instance, if SPIDER-MAN (2002) has a run-time of 2 hours and 1 minute and iN Demand was willing to dedicate 4 different PPV channels to offering that film, my job was to work with the system administrators to schedule it as many times as possible. It was an infuriating experience for customers who could not pause the content and had to sit-down in front of their televisions (and only televisions) at a very specific time, pre-determined by yours truly.

Thankfully the true promise of an on-demand business landscape soon emerged and I joined the team at AT&T U-verse where I helped that product from it's conception with just 32,000 test subscribers in Texas to a point six years later when the service was available nationwide and had nearly 4 million active subscribers. At AT&T I worked with all of the major studios ensuring that both their big tentpole titles were available to customers and also helped evaluate new content from new content aggregators and distributors.

Which is how, after six years with AT&T, I found myself joining a small, independent distribution company called Gravitas Ventures. I was their 5th employee and during the time I was with their team it grew to more than 20 employees and was twice listed on Inc Magazine's "Fastest Growing Companies". That's a metric based largely on revenues, not employees. At Gravitas I was the person that sought out content for distribution at film festivals and also simply through referrals from executives at Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.

Presently I am an independent consultant providing distribution strategy advice to a wide range of people, from independent content creators, to established production companies looking to re-evaluate their distribution process, to encoding vendors who are seeking to bridge the gap between content creators and the platforms where customers are going.

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Testimonials

"Thank you for a seminar packed with useful information to help us move forward with our projects and for giving us actionable items." - Susan S.

"Chad was great. Thank him so very much!" - Bonnie D.

"Great webinar, great speaker - lots of great detailed info and tips for getting into this world." - Ron H.

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • Loved it! Very informative if your an indie filmmaker like myself. He had a lot of great points. He'd didn't beat around the bush at all. Straight forward info. Highly recommend this webinar!
  • Chad clearly knows his stuff, very informative.
  • Kind of annoyed with this because in the advertising of this, they didn't say it was mainly for feature films. The info was great though. I also think it's odd that I'm forced to rate this 5 stars. I click on other stars and they don't work
  • I would hire Chad Miller as a consultant. He was that good.
  • If i could give this webinar 10 stars I would! Amazing info!

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