Direct Download for Docs?
May 1, 2007 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I work for a small Canadian documentary company. We're interested in selling our films via direct download. What is the best way to do this?

We've got a couple of films that have received acclaim and success over the past few years, and we've got a new one that just premiered. We don't make much money off theatrical showings, and our cut of DVD sales isn't as much as we'd like. We're looking at direct download as a way to reach more people and get more of their money directly to us.

What's the best way to do this? Do you know of any other companies that have done this and succeeded? What are the pitfalls of direct download and how can they be avoided? I know more and more people are willing to pay for downloads, but is there any way to discourage piracy without ticking people off (for example, we don't want to go DRM so people can't burn a DVD and take it off their computer)?
posted by yellowbinder to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
but is there any way to discourage piracy without ticking people off

Guilt. I'm happy to work around whatever DRM I might encounter, but I'm a sucker for the "we're a small label and we need your support" spiel. Make people feel like they're part of something and that sharing is stealing from their friends and they won't.

Alternatively, association: Watermark downloads with something to identify the downloader. That way they can do all sorts of thing with it, including sharing it with their friends who wouldn't buy it anyhow, but they'll be discouraged from making it freely available on bittorrent, for instance.

My hunch is that the difference between the amount people are willing to pay for direct downloads and the amount they'll pay for a DVD is drastic, though.
posted by mendel at 10:26 AM on May 1, 2007

I'd look to see if you can sell via iTunes.
posted by Good Brain at 10:34 AM on May 1, 2007

Dreamhost offers a 'Files Forever' service, which can be used as a 'pay once, download always' for you and your customers. It's extraordinarily simple and I've used it for a few times. DRM is prohibited, I think.

They charge 5% + $0.50USD per transaction.
posted by unixrat at 10:34 AM on May 1, 2007

Argh, forgot to link:
posted by unixrat at 10:36 AM on May 1, 2007

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