Several years ago a typical conversation I had at holiday parties when introduced to someone got an upgrade. Up to that point, when introduced to someone, a question they’d ask — “Have you scored anything for DVD?” — became “Do you have anything on YouTube?” I didn’t at the time, but the following month I did, by gum. I posted rare things from my collection that I’d scored, and silents I’d scored for DVD that I’d gotten permission to post. There’s currently around 50 or 60 items on my YouTube channel.
This past holiday season, there was another upgrade to that question.
“Can you make your DVD releases available for streaming?”
I suppose I could, but I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to make this happen.
I’ve given it a shot, on a small scale, but the ratio of amount of effort to amount of return/discovery is way too high. A few years ago I uploaded a William S. Hart film that I scored to YouTube, making it available only for pay. The price was a couple bucks.
Two things happened. One was that there wasn’t a really significant response in terms of views, despite this film not being elsewhere on YouTube. The other was that YouTube’s money threshold was such that the number of views I’d have to get before being able to get paid was on a cat video scale. YouTube still has my money for views of Three Word Brand.
I’ve made a couple of my Undercrank Productions releases available on Amazon streaming. It’s an option that’s always been available through their CreateSpace platform. Over the last five years I think there have been maybe a dozen streams of one particular title. You’ve seen the Amazon video search screens and category listings and experienced the way its recommendation algorithm works. The stuff I release is so left-of-center there’s little chance anyone will stumble across something of mine, or have it recommended to you.
There may be a way to make my releases available on iTunes. It looks rather complicated, and seems to involve signing with a third party aggregator. There’s Filmstruck and Fandor, I suppose…oh, wait — never mind. Kanopy? Maybe. There may very well be a way to go through the machinations of setting up an independent platform for us left-of-center niche-niche-market producers to stream what we release. I hope it happens someday. Although it will come with a price tag.
In the meantime, I’m sticking with “physical media”. You’ll never open a DVD case and suddenly find it empty.