By Films For Action
Apr 4, 2015
Hey everyone, after two years planning, developing and taking our sweet time to get this ready, we are excited to announce the launch of our pay-per-view (PPV) section of the website. This section will feature films hosted by Vimeo, Youtube and others as well as our own custom video player.
Since we launched the first version of our website back in 2007, our focus has been on cataloging a library of the best activist films that could be watched for free online. Eight years later, the site has grown to include over 700 feature length documentaries and over 3000 shorter videos, all viewable for free, which we have aimed to bring to the largest audience possible through the growth of our Facebook page and other social media networks.
But at some point a while ago, we realized that by only focusing on free films, this meant excluding many dozens of outstanding high-quality films from our library. While it's certainly awesome that several film-makers are able to release their films for free each year, there are many more that can't afford to do this, and need to charge something to cover costs, earn a living and ideally continue making new films.
Over the years, we have become aware of dozens of social change films, which, before the advent of digital streaming, were virtually inaccessible to most people. In most cases, you could either buy the DVD for $20 or you could buy the public performance rights (costing anywhere between $20 to $100 on average) to host a community screening. If you were lucky, someone else might have done this and you could attend a local screening of the film, but overall, the options to see these indie films were extremely limited.
Online PPV streaming is now making a ton of these previously obscure but amazing films accessible and convenient to watch for the same price that you'd pay for a beer at most bars with a dollar tip. While we wish that every film could be released for free so that it could reach the widest possible audience, after establishing relationships with dozens of films-makers over the years, we know that this isn't usually possible in the first few years after release.
We could say a lot more on the topic, but for now we'd just like to assure our community that expanding into pay-per-view does not represent a significant change in focus for us. Our focus now and always will be to provide an accessible library of the best social change films that can be watched for free online. After many years growing our PPV library we expect it will only make up a few percent of our total library.
This direction into PPV aims to continue our mission to provide the most definitive library of social change films in one place on the internet, whether viewable for free or for a few dollars. We also want to do what we can to help support the indie social change film community. We want to see it grow and we want to see more film-makers able to make their efforts financially sustainable so that they can continue to do what they do without having to struggle so much.
With this in mind, the idea to launch our own PPV player felt like a natural fit.
Here's how it works:
- The film-maker chooses the rental and purchase price, as well as the rental duration.
- The revenue is split 70/30 (creator/us) after the transaction fee is taken out.
- We've partnered with Tinypass to handle transactions, analytics and payments to film-makers.
- We help the film-makers by promoting the film to our networks.
- We review and hand-pick every film for our PPV section and only feature films that we think are worth paying for. After all, there are a ton of amazing free films always waiting as an alternative.
Here are some of the films in our PPV section so far, hosted by Vimeo On Demand, our site, and Youtube.
Within Reach explores one couple's pedal-powered search for a place to call home. Mandy and Ryan gave up their jobs, cars, and traditional houses to 'bike-pack' 6500 miles...
This stunning film takes you on a hypnotic journey, reaching to the past to understand the origins of the catastrophic environmental transitions we now face. Over two years...
A documentary that takes an in depth look into the political movement that sprang from the 2008 economic collapse. It gives a balanced analysis of the movement's successes and...
Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of big business and banking. It has also worsened nearly every problem we face: fundamentalism and...
THE WAR ON KIDS is a 95 minute documentary that shows how American public schools continue to become more dangerously authoritarian. In addition to failing in their mission to...
We're excited to be able to support the activist film community by offering this service as well as helping to make these films more accessible to you and the larger public.
If you find yourself really wanting to watch one of these films but don't have the money for it, one member on our Facebook page suggested the idea of getting a few friends over and all contributing a dollar to watch the film together. We thought this was a great idea. Or maybe in the tradition of buying a friend a beer, someone will be down to cover the whole thing.
And of course, there's always the thousands of free films to watch just a few clicks away. Most of these films usually get released for free a few years after their initial premier, so if you can wait a few years, there's that. But if you can afford it, we think a few dollars is totally worth it to see these films sooner and to support the people making them.