All I learn about Hulu is that’s an on the web TV site that Alec Baldwin did a commercial for I saw. The sole reason I kept watching was because his short role in Glengarry Glen Ross was one hell of an acting performance. What sparked this post was a write-up I read in The Los Angeles Times business section with the headline – How many people are actually watching Hulu?
The smaller headline about measuring online audiences remains uncertain is what really caught my attention the most. I’m an independent content producer that continues to rely more on video on demand (VOD) and online digital distribution to computers and mobile devices for sales to viewers.
Like many independent entertainment producers that aren’t backed by studios and corporations I turn to the Internet to self-promote Slice Of Americana Films releases. I took notice when Keith Richman, CEO of Break.com, expressed frustration that his video site, “was dramatically underrepresented and misrepresented” by online audience measuring systems.
After reading this excellent article by Times reporter Dawn C. Chmielewski I began think of how what’s happening with media giants with regards to distributing entertainment on online to viewers relates to the indie world how many people can be on hulu. I immediately tossed out the advertisement dollars at stake because at the real independent level there’s not advertising revenue being shared with producers, if you consider Google AdSense.
Where my focus went was to the debate on the amount of viewers which were really being reached online. Because underneath that argument that’s vital that you firms that stream content for free solely to earn money from advertisers there’s an independent production side to the story.
As an indie producer I cannot afford to offer away free content that takes hard work, time, and money to create. There are no advertising dollars being deposited within my bank account to stabilize the costs, pay people, and earn a living. What I do is create entertainment that viewers enjoy and are willing to fund on VOD or digital download.
Back to the debate on the amount of real online viewers for a niche site, are companies influenced by advertising revenue and not sales of content over stating the paying demand for online content? Or is their take on things not building a difference between online viewers that buy content or watch content for free?
I would like to genuinely believe that viewers are willing to fund quality entertainment from indie producers online. Right now Slice Of Americana Films has mobile videos like Club Universe with Supermodel Joanna Krupa that sell for $1.50 a download that are doing well, especially in Japan and Poland.
There’s also an effective VOD run with the America’s Wildest Bachelor Parties reality series and Fantasy Striptease Private Shows by way of a company I will not mention. The feature films Consignment and In With Thieves that I wrote, coproduced, and directed are with distributors. Honestly, I don’t get any information on how digital sales online are going. The filmmaker is obviously last to know.
Personally, i don’t think DVD is really a dead format. It reminds of The Sky Is Falling with Chicken Little, but with websites hungry for advertising money sending the message. Fantasy Striptease Private Shows on DVD is performing solid sales numbers every month. Units can sell at a constant pace that informs me people still appreciate production value and not merely viral videos.