The Movie Streaming Business
As more and more people move to “cut the cord” from traditional cable and satellite companies, it’s increasingly clear that movie streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Vimeo On-Demand are here to stay.
The global video streaming market is estimated to be worth over $125 billion by 2025,” according to theappsolutions.com.
With this behemoth of an industry, everyone is itching to get their piece of the pie.
OTT apps and companies pop up regularly. No stone is left unturned and every niche gets its own platform.
Shudder is one example of a niche-specific platform that has, with the backing of a major player like AMC, stood the test of time with a smaller audience base and a lower membership cost.
Since it seems to be a movie streaming gold rush, even individuals are clamoring to try their hands at running their own OTT platforms.
Small Business Successes
There have been a number of OTT channels spearheaded by small businesses that have seen success. Though they have primarily been in an educational space instead of traditional entertainment and have targeted extremely specific groups of people such as amateur magicians or hip hop dancers.
So, the million-dollar question is, “can filmmakers see success by launching their own OTT platforms?”
After all, by 2021, Cisco estimates that over 17,000 hours of streaming video content will cross global IP networks every second. (hackernoon.com)
But the largest problem with trying to bootstrap something like this is the content hamster wheel.
With a subscription service, you need to constantly be adding new programming. That means, you either need to be creating your own content at a high rate or license other people’s content.
Sure, you could work out revenue split deals and find ways around needing the upfront capital to get started, but you’ll still need to put in a massive amount of sweat equity in order to launch the thing.
If you already have a massive library of content and raving fans from a YouTube channel, then you may have an opportunity for your own OTT platform.
Otherwise, I may suggest a TVOD strategy, and I’ll get to that a little bit later.
Building Your Streaming Movie Empire
To tackle the task of creating your own platform, you have a couple of options on the table.
Like I already mentioned, there are platforms out there that specialize in this, namely Vimeo OTT and Uscreen.
Both of these offer tiered solutions based on the number of members you have on your site, and they are essentially just websites with a video paywall.
That is until you shell out some serious dough to get your Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV apps created. (We are talking like $1500-2000 a MONTH)
An alternative would be to create your own website that sells movies or subscriptions. You can do that with WordPress and a movie theme with several plugins tethered together to make it happen.
Or, you could use a platform that we are keen on (full disclosure, it’s our platform) called Filmshake.
Creating a Netflix Clone on Filmshake
I wanted to demonstrate the real power of Filmshake by using it to build out a movie streaming website that mimics the style and functionality of a site like Netflix.
To do this, I used the drag-and-drop website builder inside Filmshake to style the website with elements similar to Netflix’s homepage and content pages.
Then, using the membership features, I was able to make the content pages available only to specific members who sign up for a subscription that can be paid or free.
The movies themselves can be embedded into the pages with any video player of your choosing, including YouTube or Amazon s3.
Filmshake allows you to manage your members in the backend of the platform so you can keep in touch with your fans through email and send them additional offers in the future.
Creating a Hulu-style Website for your Streaming Series
Similarly, I wanted to give Hulu a try in order to create a site geared more toward series. I imagine something like this would be useful to creators who have ongoing web series or want to have a hybrid of series and movies.
The result was our “Lulu” template. (I know, the names are super creative…)
With this template I did the same things as before, using the drag-and-drop designer to easily mimic the style and feel of the Hulu site.
This time, I made a content page that is more geared toward series with multiple videos and seasons associated with one series.
The backend works the same, by creating membership levels and assigning access to specific pages.
Another thing to note, because you can embed your movies and series with any video player, you can easily incorporate a video player that supports ads and take an AVOD approach to your content.
Tapping into TVOD like Vimeo On Demand
Like I said before, most people don’t have the library of content or the capital required to start and maintain a video subscription service, so for the majority of filmmakers, a TVOD approach to movie streaming will be key.
This template is probably the most practical. It gives filmmakers the opportunity to sell individual movies to their audiences without the burden of constant updates and satisfying members.
Plus, with Filmshake, you can sell more than just movies. Filmmakers can create entire shops with merchandise, sell premium upgrades with exclusive content, or sell “tickets” to the live online premiere of their movies.
Unlike the other white-label OTT solutions, Filmshake is more than just an OTT platform. It is an entire suite of tools aimed and giving independent filmmakers the power to create businesses around their creations.
Other Movie Streaming Options in Filmshake
These 3 templates are brand new and are, at the time of my writing this article, the only movie streaming templates we have available. But, there will be more to come!
If you have a specific style or functionality that you’d like to see in a template, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to make it happen.
Now, before I get all sorts of crazy comments like, “why would you rip off Netflix and Hulu?” I’d like to point out that I created these templates as an example of the power of the platform. And, as a jumping-off point for people.
I do not expect anyone to simply use these templates without modification to literally create Netflix clones or Hulu clones.
Instead, I want you to see what’s possible with this platform. Dive into the templates to see what I did to create them. And then experiment with your own thoughts and designs.
Because it really IS easy to do. I created these templates in less than a day. I can’t wait to see what you come up with for your own sites!
What About Apps?
Filmshake does not create or provide OTT movie streaming apps on devices like Roku and Apple TV. So, you may be wondering how your customers can view these movies on your site.
Of course, there are the obvious answers. Your customers can watch your movies on their computers, tablets, and mobile phones.
But, if they want to watch on their TV, are they out of luck?
3 Ways to Watch On Your TV Through a Filmshake Site
We are fully aware that having apps on popular devices is ideal. That’s something that we are working on.
But, for the time being, we’ve come up with these three workarounds.
#1 – Screen Mirroring
Screen mirroring is a functionality that is included in Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Smart TV devices. It allows you to mirror your mobile device’s screen onto your TV. That means that a customer of yours can log into your website created through Filmshake and play your movies on their TVs, controlling the playback via their phones.
#2 – Chromecast
Google’s Chromecast devices allow for users to “cast” videos to their TVs with a simple and inexpensive dongle that plugs into the HDMI port of their TV and is powered by USB. Many video players support the use of Chromecast, and I believe that the Chrome web browser itself supports Chromecast. Look into this option if it’s something that you think would interest your customers.
#3 – HDMI
Ah yes, how quickly we have been spoiled by wireless devices. But, even though it’s not something we think about often, most computers have an HDMI output on them which would allow your customers to connect a laptop and enjoy a movie streaming experience that way.
Don’t Be Left Behind In the Movie Streaming Game
At this point, it’s clear that streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu are here to stay and that watching movies online is the future of the industry.
We are at a point in time where it’s not too late to jump aboard the moving train. Whether you utilize a platform like Filmshake to sell your movies or not, I think that learning and understanding various online sales and marketing tactics are only going to help you in the future.
We are artists, I know. And we don’t love the idea of “selling”. I totally get it.
But, for me at least, my dream is to build a sustainable business around my art of making films. I want to have my own means to not only MAKE the movies I want to make but also distribute them to a massive and eager audience.
I want to avoid the constant grind of pitching projects, seeking investors, and dealing with companies who have their own ideas and agendas that don’t necessarily mesh with my own.
That’s why we wanted a platform like Filmshake in the first place. We understand that it’s not for everyone. But if you think you might have a similar dream or goal in the film industry, give it a try! It’s free to test drive. No credit cards required. Just dive right in and give it a spin!
And let us know how you like it!