Giving Your Film Away for FreeMaking your content free and available can be a powerful marketing tool when executed intentionally and strategically. Luc Besson, creator of the environmental documentary “Home”, celebrated his film’s theatrical and television release by making his content available for a limited time.  This internet event garnered 1.8 million views.

Each film is different and requires a unique marketing and distribution approach.  You need to choose the internet strategy that makes the most sense for your content. Before hitting that upload button, make you’re making the right choice for your film.

1. Zero Plus Zero Still Equals Zero

Letting customers access your content for free is not a magic solution. People won’t be showing up in droves to see your film just because they don’t have to pay for it.  It’s important to make sure your film is supported by sound marketing.  Do some research and decide the best platform for your audience.  For instance, YouTube might not be the best place for a full length feature film.  Similarly, CollegeHumor is no place for a documentary.

2. Your Ideas are Valuable

Capturing an idea and creating a film is no small task. Make sure each site is worth the investment your content represents.  There are many websites working on a catalog/library model, trying to add as many films to their database as possible­—either for prominence in search engine results, or eventual sale. By giving them your film for free, you are adding value to their catalog. Think carefully about what you are getting in return.

3.  Audiences Want Quality Content

Seventy-two hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute.  The problem isn’t quantity, its quality. Viewers are forced to wade through a shaky, kitten infested mire of video to find relevant media.  More and more internet media providers seek to differentiate themselves and the content they offer.  Some sites, like Babelgum, have started offering curated content and are awarding filmmakers advances for exclusive rights to their digital content.