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I wrote a note to myself yesterday: “Get in in touch with Ben Rekhi to find out how Waterborne is doing on the Google Video Store.” (I posted a few weeks ago about director Ben Rekhi’s experiment streaming his video on the Google platform and then proceeding on to selling paid downloads and DVDs.)

Well, Ann Thompson has beat me to it. From her Risky Business blog:

“Google Video’s distribution experiment on the bio-terrorist thriller Waterborne appears to be a success. According to Google Video, the first independent feature film to be released through the new Google Video Store was viewed by more than 25,000 people during its first two weeks of streaming. The filmmakers eschewed a six figure advance from a distributor to maintain ownership of their film. In a release sent out today, producer Smriti Mundhra says, ‘The exposure we’ve gotten though the Google Video distribution model vastly exceeds what we would have gained through traditional theatrical distribution.’

According to writer/director Ben Rekhi, Waterborne’s online premiere attracted an average of 1,000 page views and hundreds of paid downloads per day. The DVD hits video stores in three weeks. The new distribution model was announced in conjunction with Google Founder Larry Page’s unveiling of the Google Video Store on January 6th, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Waterborne was available for free streaming for its first ten days of release, followed by an exclusive “download-to-own” window at $3.99 per download. Mundhra says that in addition to steadily increasing download-to-own sales via the Google Video Store, Waterborne’s DVD pre-orders far exceeded the filmmaker’s expectations, with pre-orders of over 15,000 units. His distribution partner MTI Video is manufacturing the DVD, whch will be available everywhere on February 21, 2006.”

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