How to Sell Your Movie (or TV Show) to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Others.
By Phil Autelitano
Not a day goes by where I don’t get an email or call from a filmmaker who wants to sell their movie to Netflix or Hulu. I’ll address Hulu in another article, but for now, let’s focus on Netflix. With more 75 million subscribers, Netflix is now a television powerhouse; many a filmmaker’s wet dream. It only makes sense to want to distribute your film to the largest fastest-growing subscriber-base on Television, via Connected Television — the widest, fastest growing new technology market since the Internet. What filmmaker wouldn’t want their film in that market?
In this day and age of technology, there are more ways than ever to get your film out there, but two places still remain Holy Grail sacred — the movie screen and the television screen. Connected TV — through devices like Roku and Apple TV, and through people like me who develop channels and content for those devices — has lowered the bar tremendously when it comes to the TV screen, but even still, channels on those devices (other than Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Instant) don’t see anywhere near as many eyeballs as Netflix itself does. So while getting your film up on Connected TV is easy —shit, with just $5000, I can get your film out to 100 million viewers on Connected TV platforms AND have you earning money with advertising in less than a week — getting your film on Netflix is more of a sign of arrival and acceptance than anything else. (Not to mention, it can net you a shit-ton more money.)
Despite the world of high technology, most Netflix deals are made the “old fashioned” way:
- You find a distributor or rep for your film (or TV show),
- The distributor or rep cuts a deal with Netflix,
- You get paid a licensing fee for one or two years, or whatever is negotiated.
It’s no different than dealing with HBO or Showtime. They work the same way. The difference, in my opinion, is that Netflix is more open to picking up YOUR film than HBO or Showtime would be.
First things first though, your film must be attractive to Netflix. Yes, it should be a good movie, but that’s subjective. More importantly, it must be high quality, not just in content and acting but in production quality. It’s gotta be a real movie, folks — one you’d see at a movie theater or on a network channel. Star power helps. Publicity helps. Social media following can help. YouTube movies shot on your iPhone, however, don’t help — they just won’t cut it here.
Beyond that, it needs to bring something more to the table. What does Netflix get out of it? How will your film attract more subscribers, or keep existing subscribers loyal? What is your film’s platform — in other words, who does it appeal to? Does your film come with a built-in fan base (major plus)? Does it come with a cult following (even more major plus)? Does it appeal to a segment of the market that maybe Netflix isn’t hitting or isn’t embedded in, yet, and will that market segment run to Netflix to sign-up just to see it? Don’t let that scare you, but bring those things to the table and Netflix will listen. Even without all that though, it’s still possible they will want your film — they just may not want to pay for it, or as much for it.
You could take the usual route, hitting the major film festivals, Sundance, SXSW, Toronto, Tribeca, etc., and hopefully catch their eye. Netflix has a content acquisition team that’s always on the lookout for new stuff. They’re at all the festivals, they follow the industry. You can sit and wait for them to come to you, or you can go to them …and the best way to do THAT is through a distributor or sales agent who
a) knows the ropes of this ever-changing, Wild West of a new technology,
b) has dealt with Netflix before and deals with them regularly, and
b) has a great working relationship with them, as well as the other platforms.
Sure, you can contact them yourself. You can send a shitload of emails with links to your sizzle reel and pitch deck, just like everyone else does, and hope that your email gets picked from the litter before it gets blocked or blacklisted OR you can seek the help of professional representation with an “in” to the content acquisition decision-makers who will not only get your film seen but who will fight to get you the best DEAL for it.
Streaming Features (a Mediarazzi company) represents films and TV shows to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, Crackle and other platforms. These platforms count on us to bring them quality content. We will represent your film to Netflix and the other platforms, and get you the best deal possible. If we succeed, we take a standard agency commission on the backend (no up-front fees!) If we don’t, we offer an alternative distribution solution that will earn you money while your film builds the buzz it needs to succeed...
Due to the overwhelming response to THIS POST, Mediarazzi recently launched SPECK, a free-for-all, open platform aggregator that distributes your content across multiple digital and Connected Television platforms via the new Speck Channel, allowing you to earn immediate revenue from your film or TV show, while they “shop” it to the other platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Crackle, and more.
With Speck, you earn an 80/20 split on all of the revenue generated by your content — that’s 80/20 in YOUR favor — via VOD and AVOD distribution across the multiple platforms. Speck is the perfect, FREE alternative to other services like Distribber who charge more $1,000 for the same service.
For more information on Speck, or to submit your film or TV show now, visit www.MoviesOnSpeck.com
If you’re looking for distribution for your (completed) TV or film project, visit Streaming Features first — www.streamingfeatures.com
For Phil’s streaming TV/Film consulting, visit: www.streamingfeatures.com/consulting