Video-On-Demand (VOD) platforms are aplenty today and will keep increasing in numbers for some years to come. Among them which to choose, how to go about it, what it costs, are questions that I wanted answers to and probably you too. Let’s look at aggregators such as Quiver for this.
What is an Aggregator?
From what I understand, aggregators are companies that collect, or aggregate, various films and then pitch it as a suite of films to VOD platforms. For VOD platforms they act as a single point of access to a collection of films that meet their technical requirements. For filmmakers they act as a pathway to VOD platforms.
One such aggregator that we have been looking into is Quiver.
How We Use Quiver
More than using Quiver to distribute our film, what we used it for is to help figure out how much it would cost to do so and what all the elements are.
Note: The following is from our study in preparation for distributing our debut feature film, Munnariv. These are not to be taken as endorsements or as our experience. We only hope to show you your options.
The following breaks down, to the minutest detail, what it would cost us to sell Munnariv on YouTube (through Google Play) and on iTunes, if we went through Quiver. It also details what each item would cost.
As you can see, you need the Censor Board certificate if you want to distribute in India through Quiver. Quiver does not do this for you. You will have to go the office yourself and get this done. This will add an additional ₹50,000 (approximate figure) to your budget, for the screening, DCP costs and so on.
There are such similar requirements for different territories. For example, if you want your film to be accessible to people in Germany/France, then the film must have German/French subtitles. If you want your film in the United States, then you need to pay for Closed Captions, and so on.
Go to distribute.quiverdigital.com. Make an account and test these for the needs of your particular film. It is free.
Using Quiver For Distribution
If you do go the Quiver route, then you would have to pay the ₹ 1.5 lakhs upfront. Plus the censor certificate expense of ₹50,000, if you do not have one already.
Having not gone through this route yet, we are not sure of all the implications of the 2 year term. Their renewal fee of ₹5500 for two years is almost negligible if the film makes any money at all. And unlike other aggregators, you get to keep all the royalties the film earns during the 2 years.
Quiver also gives you access to other VOD platforms, such as Netflix, for an additional application fee of ₹10,500 for each. Paying this fee does not guarantee that your film will be put up on Netflix. It is merely a pitching fee and your film may or may not be approved.
Quiver does not seem to support Amazon Prime Video in India right now. It used to, while we were exploring 2 years ago. For Prime you can try putting it directly. We discussed that and Vimeo On Demand in this article. Also we do not think that that route requires a censor certificate; we could be wrong.
VOD is the thing right now. Even if you get your films up on these platforms, the onus of getting people aware of it, of marketing and selling your film, is still on you. It comes with its own share of expenses and problems. We hope this article shines light on Quiver and how you can use it.