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Friday, September 19, 2008

The Numbers I'd Like to See from SnagFilms

One of the big questions on the mind of filmmakers at the IFP Filmmaker Conference this week was, is Internet distribution working for anybody? How much money is there to be made?

Yes, it's still the early days for all things digital -- but given that the traditional distribution marketplace is in such disarray, people are eager to understand their alternatives.

One of the featured speakers, on Wednesday, was Rick Allen, CEO of SnagFilms (which I wrote about here, back in June).

Allen shared some of the numbers from SnagFilms' first two months of operation.

They now have 440 films in the library...and viewers have consumed two million minutes of content online. About 10,000 people have installed the SnagFilms widget, which lets them select movies to "embed" or integrate into their own site. Allen said that by the end of the year, the process of submitting a film will be much easier for individual filmmakers.

There are two numbers that filmmakers probably would like to see from Snag...

1. How much are the most successful filmmakers earning from advertising? (Snag shows short ads during the streaming of movies, and splits revenues 50/50 with filmmakers.) Allen was asked this during his session, but he said they didn't have enough data yet.

Online, video advertisers pay about $25 for every thousand times their ad is shown, or .025 cents a viewing. If people press "Play" on your film 10,000 times on Snag, that's at least $125 for you. (One ad is shown before the movie, and there are other commercial breaks. If someone stops watching before the first commercial break arrives, you at least get credit for that first ad.)

2. ...Which means that the real way filmmakers will make money through Snag is by selling DVDs. I asked Allen after his session whether he could share any stats about the percentage of viewers who decide to buy the DVD. (There, Snag takes an 8.5 percent cut of the transaction, but lets the filmmaker keep the rest.) He said it was too early to tell, but that anecdotally, filmmakers he has spoken to have seen an uptick.

Allen will be on a panel I'm moderating next month, so I'll ask again then...

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