Seed&Spark, the crowdfunding platform with a built-in distribution, is announcing today that it has struck a direct distribution deal with cable and digital distributor iN DEMAND, which expands the company’s domestic distribution reach by 50%. iN DEMAND’s Movies On Demand library is part of many cable providers, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and the Bright House Networks.
"We were at 65 million homes in the U.S., now we’re in 100 million," CEO and Founder Emily Best told Indiewire in a recent interview. "It’s a footprint that starts to rival any distribution competitor."
The crowdfunding platform’s built-in distribution network already included Verizon and all major digital platforms like Netflix, iTunes and Playstation. Any film that successfully crowdfunds using Seed&Spark, and whose campaign collects at least 500 campaign followers, is granted access to the site’s distribution partners, with Seed&Spark collecting 10% of the net profits coming back from the distribution platforms.
"10% on the pass thru is extremely low," explained Best. "Especially because, unlike straight up aggregators, we’re actually doing things to get these films placement. We help filmmakers get into the categories they need to get in, we provide marketing and educational materials, and our distribution team will work with them to make sure they are prepared to take advantage of things like iTunes presales." The biggest aid though that Seed&Spark provides filmmakers is showing them how the groundwork laid in launching a successful crowdfunding campaign can also help them successfully self distribute their films.
"We really want filmmakers to understand that crowdfunding’s greatest value is in making a piece of IP [intellectual property] valuable by proving there’s an audience that is actually connected to it," said Best. "That’s an audience that will sustain you not only through this one film, but all the films moving forward."
To accomplish this, Seed&Spark has built their crowdfunding platform to gain as much relevant information from the campaign’s audience members, which down the road can help filmmakers make strategic distribution choices. The goal, according to Best, is to avoid a "spray and pray" approach to digital distribution, but rather to know where their audience is located and how they actually consume movies.
"The problem with everybody having access to the digital marketplace universe is everybody has access to the digital marketplace," explained Best. "It creates a glut of content and makes it impossible for anybody to get sound. If you are going to leverage 100 million homes you better be able to reach enough of those people to tell their friends so they are aware of your film. It’s work that filmmakers are already learning to do themselves through crowdfunding and what we are showing them is that can be applied all the way through distribution."
Seed&Spark is also announcing today that they are rewarding filmmakers who gather 500 or more followers to their campaign with a Filmmaker Gift Box worth over $8,000. The box contains production technology from G-Tech and Teradek, myriad discounts from post-production partners such as Frame.io and Simple DCP, services ranging from legal to marketing, premiere venues and waivers to 10 premiere film festivals.
"The gift box is about accelerating filmmakers through post and distribution to make it easier for them to get working on their next project," said Ryan Black, Chief Marketing Officer.
Spring is turning into a busy time for the crowdfunding platform, which was only in beta mode two years ago. In April, Seed&Spark’s first real crowdfunding successes, "I Am Thalente," will be hitting theaters through the company’s new theatrical arm Bright Ideas Pictures.
"Thalente" will open in Los Angeles on April 7 and reach a total of 20 cities. The skateboard doc’s theatrical release is following the same formula of tapping into the audience that originally helped make it a crowdfunding success. "Nicole Malek, who has done incredible work in building our outreach team, is making relationships with skate shops all around the country, so that all the screenings are hosted by people that care about the film," said Best.