New Platform VidaFair May Have Just Changed Film Monetization (Sponsored Post)
Launching this month, VidaFair.com gives filmmakers control over their content’s monetization without needing the approval of elite gatekeepers or multinational conglomerates. The startup sees itself in lofty terms — democratizing revenue creation to ordinary people through tech — somewhat in the footsteps of Uber and Airbnb. VidaFair lets filmmakers set their own fee per 24-hour video rental, anything from $0.00 to $20.00 is allowed (yes, filmmakers can choose to make nothing per stream if they wish). VidaFair has its own fee per rental stream, of course, but it’s purely based on file size, i.e. the metric which most closely correlates to their costs. The ultimate rental price for viewers is simply the sum of the filmmaker’s fee and VidaFair’s fee, and all of it can be estimated in advance via VidaFair’s earnings calculator.
The competition? The most well-known non-gatekeeper platform, YouTube, is advertiser-based of course, but only offers creators a rather insulting small fraction of a cent per view. Patreon is subscription-based, which hasn’t proven a good fit for most filmmakers. And Vimeo allows a la carte pricing for streams, but charges $140 every year for the required “Pro” account and also takes 10% of the rental price, plus fees. On the gatekeeper front, Amazon Prime Video Direct rejects lots of content without giving reasons, while FilmHub actually takes 20% if you’re lucky enough to be let into the party. These platforms have countless other technical requirements—if your project isn’t closed captioned, Amazon PVD and FilmHub won’t even consider it. FilmHub requires you submit a “music cue sheet” clearance even if you made all the music yourself. Amazon PVD isn’t even currently accepting any docs, nor shorts.
VidaFair’s one-time fee to upload and host a film for a year, allowing filmmakers to set their own rental fee, is only $5.45. A content creator could literally upload one project, walk away and never pay VidaFair another penny. The same freedom goes for viewers: They can buy $1.99 worth of tokens (called “grains”) on the site and have no further interaction. At the time of VidaFair’s launch, uploaded films will be viewable on the web, as well as through VidaFair’s iPhone and Android apps.
Micropayment pricing may be the quiet revolution here. Many raised in the brick and mortar movie theater era may be slow to appreciate how a film streamed for $0.50 per view could actually produce more revenue than the same film streamed for $5.00 per view. Some may even feel embarrassed by the prospect of low prices for their work. But VidaFair sees an enormous opportunity in the micropayment paradigm, namely the sub-dollar price point, where charging only one-tenth the price per rental would actually make a whole lot of sense if it ultimately results in 50 times the viewers.
To be sure, VidaFair will have its work cut out for it, selling a new paradigm against competitors with massive marketing budgets. So did Uber and Airbnb.