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by Jay A. Fernandez
June 8, 2012 4:31 PM
2 Comments
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LGBT Distributor Wolfe Video Launches New VOD Platform With Innovative Commission Structure for Fans

"Tomboy" Wolfe

LGBT film distributor Wolfe Video is diving into the VOD pool with its new WolfeOnDemand.com platform, the company announced Thursday. While the move is a logical one for a company with a well-defined content brand, the initiative does throw a new wrinkle into the emerging VOD landscape: revenue sharing.

Along with making available titles from its 100-strong library (just 30 movies are accessible at launch), Wolfe has built in an affiliate structure that encourages LGBT consumers to stump for its content in exchange for commissions. By monetizing the increasingly effective social networking aspects of promotion and distribution, Wolfe is hoping to cut down on illegal file-sharing and give audiences an incentive to play clean with its films.

While Wolfe may see an ends-justifies-the-means benefit in more customers, the blind, uninformed recommendations may dilute the brand’s reputation.

“This launch helps Wolfe meet the needs of our customers on a global scale,” said Wolfe founder Kathy Wolfe, who was very public in her anti-piracy stance during the SOPA debate earlier this year. “While fighting online piracy, I had the opportunity to connect with many of our fans outside the U.S., who indicated that they would not pirate films if we provided reasonably priced access to our library.”

The danger is that those unfamiliar with Wolfe or its movies will try to jump in on the financial scheme. While Wolfe may see an ends-justifies-the-means benefit in more customers, the blind, uninformed recommendations may dilute the brand’s reputation.

But Daniel T. Pereira, an MIT Communications Futures Program researcher and former managing director of the MIT CMS Convergence Culture Consortium, sees a great opportunity to amplify the fan communities that already gather around popular shows on Hulu and Netflix. “The WolfeOnDemand.com platform architecture is designed to leverage this kind of passion and community,” says Pereira, who took a look at the initiative but has no official role in it. “The site's sharing functionality coupled with a commission structure for fans to earn revenue when they share is a very innovative deployment of social media as it relates to the spread of media properties and digital download pricing. I look forward to seeing what happens with this platform and how community and sharing manifest into a monetized business model for Wolfe in the months and years ahead."

Among the first group of titles available on the service are Celine Sciama's “Tomboy,” Javier Fuentes-Leon’s “Undertow (Contracorriente),” Tom Gustafson’s “Were The World Mine,” Katherine Brooks’ “Loving Annabelle” and Jamie Babbit’s “Itty Bitty Titty Committee.” Films are available to rent or own on WolfeOnDemand.com, while the library retains a presence on Comcast, Time Warner and iTunes’ VOD services. The move comes on the heels of Wolfe establishing LGBT genre sections on YouTube Movies and Hulu.

TAGS: Wolfe, VOD

2 Comments

  • Peter Gerard | June 21, 2012 4:32 AMReply

    Distrify.com is pleased to be partnering with Wolfe to provide this innovative platform. There are more great films coming online each week and the response so far has been fantastic.

  • Jenni Olson | June 8, 2012 7:00 PMReply

    Hey there Indiewire — Thanks so much for this article. As Wolfe's VP of E-Commerce and Consumer Marketing I just need to comment to say I'm not sure what is meant here by this comment:

    "While Wolfe may see an ends-justifies-the-means benefit in more customers, the blind, uninformed recommendations may dilute the brand’s reputation."

    We launched with 30 films from our library (and in fact have an additional ten fresh titles up today and more new movies coming to the platform each week). These are all high-quality releases from our acclaimed library of films. If customers are recommending ANY films in our library it won't be diluting our brand. On the contrary.

    I'm wondering if there is some way you're misunderstanding the way this system works.

    We're extremely excited about this new platform and encourage everyone to come check us out. You can watch great LGBT movies for reasonable prices and tell your friends about them to earn commissions.

    I also just have to add that this is an especially exciting opportunity for our filmmakers on the Wolfe label to begin earning revenue from territories which traditionally have remained entirely unexploited due to a lack of distribution infrastructure. Places where there simply are no buyers who would be able to release their films. As an LGBT distributor we get frequent inquiries from potential customers in these territories who are desperate to see LGBT movies and have literally no options (other than piracy). We have been in soft-launch for the past two weeks and already have customers in places as far flung as South Korea, Singapore and Azerbaijan.

    Thanks all!

    Jenni Olson
    WolfeOnDemand.com
    The worldwide LGBT movie-watching platform!
    @WolfeOnDemand