Show menu
Shooting People
By continuing to browse this website you are agreeing to allow us to use cookies

Vimeo On Demand (and other distribution animals)

Does anyone have any experience of distributing their film via Vimeo On Demand?

Interested in how people have found it, and whether there is the sense of an audience and a community there, or whether it's a lot of hard work to drive eyeballs and wallets in that direction.

And how it compares to other online distributors such as Amazon, Netflix or iTunes?

  • People equate online with free (or at least as cheap as free, even if part of a subscription). Quick thought experiment - what was the last low-budget indie film you paid to watch online? Exactly ;-)

    5 years ago
  • I watch a number of indie films "online" via iTunes on Apple TV, so I guess my question was do people view Vimeo On Demand in a similar way - as a place to find good films in the same way as they do iTunes store?

    5 years ago
  • My bad - misread it as 'Video On Demand' so completely missed the question nub!

    I'm afraid I don't know, it's a different model than iTunes and ilk as those platforms provide a lot of promotion and a single click purchase whereas you may need to work harder to get people through the Vimeo doors, get their cards out, commit to watching.

    5 years ago
  • My first feature is up on Vimeo on Demand (
    Sales in the UK have been quite poor, which I find quite funny as it is a British film. However, it seems to have made a fair number of sales in the US, Australia and some random pockets in Europe. So, I'd say it's worth the effort. Some tweeting and facebook advertising never goes a miss to boost the film's presence.

    5 years ago
  • Ben - did you just do your own social media work to drive eyeballs to Vimeo, or did you pay for any marketing/publicity? And would you be willing to share the stats for views in what period of time you've got via Vimeo On Demand?

    5 years ago
  • I made a feature doc and released myself on DVD and VOD. Vast majority of sales was DVD at £12.99 rather than VOD at £3.49. VOD is tough and in my experience, given an option punters still prefer owning a physical item.

    5 years ago
  • Interesting Elisar. Who did you use for the DVDs? Amazon? Or were you mailing them out yourself?

    5 years ago
  • We put Dara Says on Vimeo on demand. It's a great Valentines Day movie.

    You basically bring your own customers to the website. We promoted it through our Facebook page and our website. Consider them a hosting tool, not a promoter.

    However, some films that did well at the right festivals have a special vimeo page for the festival. So, if you've entered your film into the right festival, maybe you'll get some extra promotion from that.

    I think the main advantage of Vimeo is that you can enter festivals through a password protected Vimeo film, and then you already have it uploaded to use later as Vimeo on demand. I mean, if it's already on Vimeo for festivals, and you don't have other conflicting distribution arrangements, you have nothing to lose, right?

    Another plus is it allows viewers (after they've paid to see the film) a chance to give a review.

    Other companies offer the same service, and I've been looking at those.

    A disadvantage for UK producers is Vimeo will not figure out the VAT for you. They will tell you where your customers are coming from, which is better than some companies do.

    If it weren't for Vimeo's links with FestHome and Filmfreeway, however, I don't know if we'd use Vimeo as much as we do.

    5 years ago
  • If you want to sell DVDs you have to get the BBFC to pass it; cost is submission fee £76 + per-minute fee of £6.08
    But for VoD you don't necessarily have to.
    So Vimeo looks pretty good.

    5 years ago
    • No need to have the censor certify your film for DVD distribution if it's factual and without gratuitous excess in it. (If gratuitous excess is a part of the factuality however, such as war, it's OK!) You can self exempt and put the 'E' label on it.

      Have done so several times.

      5 years ago
  • Hi James,

    "Interested in how people have found it, and whether there is the sense of an audience and a community there, or whether it's a lot of hard work to drive eyeballs and wallets in that direction."

    My own experience is that Vimeo on Demand is a great place to host – better in so many ways than YouTube - but there is no community there; YouTube is where the audience is... although the audience doesn't expect to pay for YouTube videos.

    With Vimeo on Demand you can design the environment to look pretty cool - look for The House of Him on Vimeo on Demand for an example - and if it's a horror film there's always TheHorrorShow.TV, which typically offers a 70% share (net of VAT) to the rights holder, with no upfront costs.

    "Vimeo on Demand" is a great name, though. It certainly *should* be a thing.

    5 years ago
  • By which I mean "a more successful thing than it is"

    Obviously it *is* a thing.

    5 years ago
  • My 2 cents. Just got our film onto VHX, a less known VOD platform. We went with them because our budget was tight and -unlike Vimeo- they had no upfront cost. It's easy to set up (and pretty!!), plus they've been quite quick and efficient in helping by email and solving any problems. It's only being about a month, but so far I highly recommend them.

    As far as I know, although a few platforms advertise this sense of community -that you can theoretically convert into sales-, none of them actually helps you with exposure. So driving eyeballs and wallets in the direction of your film becomes your job.

    5 years ago
  • Interesting angle Angel. I've been reading a bit about VHX, sounds like an option. And for me it's not just the upfront cost with Vimeo it's also the fact that people have to sign up to Vimeo to watch the film, which is another barrier to purchase.

    I've also seen Reelhouse and Indieflix recommended a lot. They don't seem to have any upfront cost either and a lot of useful customisation options. Would be interested to hear any experiences people have had from either of these two VOD platforms?

    5 years ago
  • Hi James, drop me an email for the sales, as I'll have to look them up... and an email will actually remind me to do that.
    As with regards to marketing To Love Somebody ( - I've pushed a fair amount of tweets personally, that always gets the best response in making direct sales, because there's that personal interaction. People tweet back and you reply back.
    Otherwise did pay for a few Facebook ads, they were short though. It had varying levels of success. As I said, the UK seems to be a dead zone when it comes to people watching indie films... I'd aim at the States, Europe and Australia.
    Btw, liked House Cocktail, ;) Fun short.

    5 years ago
  • I have just launch my first feature film called Mystic Demon Killer I did not think that I would make any sales for the first two months but I have made $61:36 Gross not much but a start. Promotion is the key and from a friend writing to the local papers and getting full page press about myself and my film things have started to move. A contact I meet because of this John Higgins has written a review on my film, that he hope's will be published by STARBURST magazine well will have to wait and see if this come off. The big news is a 20min Documentary has been shot and is in post production about how I did the final edit and launched my film. The Documentary was made by a big World wide media group and this I hope will lead good sales. It is all about promoting your project, you should put the same time into promoting your film as you did making it. I like what Vimeo have done for film makers for just 230 pounds a year you get World wide distribution and they only take 10% not bad.

    10 months ago
  • I have about ten movies on Vimeo and have found them to be completely transparent (unlike Netflix & Amazon) with keeping the filmmaker informed about sales, payment to the filmmaker is really quick unlike quarterly by most other VOD companies. Most importantly it's about building a brand or name for the content that you are putting up on Vimeo. Filmmakers with just one or two films really struggle to find any sales without a following unless that generate amazing world of mouth on social media by making a new cult buzz film. If you are in it for the long term then with more films and by developing your own label and brand it will pay off, something I found out about Patreon after testing it, people only visit and pay filmmakers if they look like an exciting new up-and-coming production entity as they do not promote anyone on their site other than the highest earners and the founding contributors that got in at the start.

    10 months ago
  • I really should remember to check predictive text, sorry meant to write "they generate amazing word of mouth".

    10 months ago
  • PS Finding FILMHUB.COM to be really useful, I am reaching easily much further than ever before with an incredible amount of international sales connections and options and also really clear information as to where and how much income is being made using their "insights" option. More importantly, it is really great to have Elisar Cabrera back with us making postings and contributions as he has a wealth of experience with sales and distribution.

    10 months ago
  • Interesting thread as we are just now in the process of releasing our first feature documentary online via Vimeo and Amazon - A LOVE THAT NEVER DIES is a fairly 'niche' film that is aimed at the concerns of bereaved parents but will have wider interests for all who have suffered traumatic loss or the death of a loved one.

    Uploading the film to Amazon was a total pain as you have no idea what the page looks like, whether the closed captions work properly and communication with them is really very very poor. Vimeo is a lot simpler and more user friendly and in any stage of the process you see what you get and can amend text/images easily.

    We are not expecting big sales revenues- our purpose really is to get our film seen by as many as possible. Advice was that Amazon would be the better option but we will wait and see.

    RE: promoting the film we recognise that nothing will happen without a concerted and strategic social media campaign (which starts next week) and we have scheduled in a weekend of 'free views' on YouTube as way of (hopefully) kickstarting our audiences. This is a lot of work and we have a team of three dedicated to raising our profile across Twitter,Facebook and Instagram.

    Clearly A LOVE THAT NEVER DIES is a film with a quite specific audience and we use our database to regularly stay in touch with our 'community' - we wait to see which platform will be best suited to building this community and the conversations that will arise.

    For more info go to:

    Ps : I dont recall any upfront costs on Vimeo but maybe thats because we already have a Vimeo Pro account

    9 months ago
  • Ha, looking at this old post, it was before a few things happened. One, sales that were supposedly to a user in the US suddenly became from a user in the UK. This change can have tax implications if you're VAT registered (like we were.)

    Another, I've since realised that most festivals that have a Vimeo link are aimed at amateurs.

    If you go through a distributor to Amazon or Netflix, you can have more pull. I don't remember all the names, some were discussed on threads in Stage32. (In the production and distribution lounges.) Some are called distribution aggregators. Stage32 has a lot of independent filmmakers who got mainstream distribution, and members of the main guilds.

    Also, beware that Vimeo (and other self-publishing mechanisms) may hire/bribe "filmmakers" to promote them on social media. Final Draft seems to pay screenwriting gurus to promote their product.

    For Anyone who has lived or worked in the USA but is now outside the USA, Vimeo has extra problems, but these may not be relevant to those who never lived there.

    As I've said before, I've bought from VHX, Amazon, and I know people who pay for Netflix and co. I don't know anyone who bought videos from Vimeo, other than a few of my customers who complained how difficult it was. Vimeo is not transparent, there is no third party verifying purchases, and they don't let you know who purchased (VHX used to do that, unfortunately they were bought out because they were too good.)

    9 months ago
  • A very interesting debate guys! Well, I fell in the same trap of the Vimeo VOD too, hoping I'll make some good sales but only realised, that I am advertising Vimeo services (who recently, of course, bought the VHX) to people who have no intention to subscribe to the platform - and therefore, they don't watch my film, even for as little as £3.99.

    Well, I had typically some sales from the US and the Middle East but actually "zero" in the U.K. So, I absolutely agree with your points raised above. I discovered though that selling through distributor to educational institutions may have more sense, in terms of an indie doc. There are many institutions but less hassle and easier to deal with and with a higher fee take, so it may work better, maybe... Time will show.

    I did enjoy the work with EpicTV a few years ago when I was commissioned a series of films while travelling across China. They do all the marketing and social media work and commission you up front, then it's up to you how many viewers actually click on your film content to watch.

    It's free to watch for the viewers either through EpicTV or through their YouTube platform, and no need to register. Downside is, that it's powered by many sponsor's advertisements, taking almost as long as your content/film, and it only aims at short attention span doc viewer, who is expecting fast paced action video clips with a little story, that last no longer than 7min. Mainly aimed for the adrenaline junkie type energetic youth, not so much for those who are looking for educational value.

    The more clicks you get the more you get paid! The system works well and it's free to use for everyone. I hear there's another, great platform that works on a similar pyramid system with bitcoin, where each click represents a bitcoin type currency and the filmmaker gets profit of those who click through his/her referrals but the person who watches the content, also gets paid in that currency. I'll dig out more to it. Here though is a great advice how to sell to Netflix - I guess its pretty similar to those who are winning a lottery..(?)

    Do you guys still make DVDs? Is there a market for it? Does DVD still make any profit with all the packaging, postage and physical output to discs?

    9 months ago