Last week, Sundance Institute’s Artist Services program joined with Festival Internacional de Cine en Morelia (FICM) to host an international workshop designed to give emerging independent filmmakers and producers a chance to interact and learn from industry experts in creative funding, digital distribution and marketing of their work. As part of the day’s slate, Vimeo Director of VOD Peter Gerard was on hand to share insights from his world in a presentation on marketing direct to fans with Vimeo in order to drive an audience to discover an artist’s work.
Gerard, who previously founded Accidental Media and the distribution platform Distrify, joined Vimeo in 2014 and is helping filmmakers find their audience in an increasingly crowded marketplace. We caught up with Gerard during last week’s activities to chat about how he works with filmmakers to increase their sales and to probe his thoughts on the future of the ever-changing distribution landscape.
What do you do in your role as Director of VOD at Vimeo?
My job is to help our filmmakers sell via Vimeo On Demand and to bring new viewers to the platform. My team's primary goal is to help filmmakers increase their sales and earn more money from their films.
How do filmmakers work with you?
Most filmmakers using Vimeo On Demand are using the platform as a self-service tool to sell directly to their fans. For these filmmakers, we work hard to provide realtime data, case studies and insights on best practices.
Our team makes time to work directly with some filmmakers where possible, and we assist with marketing on a few releases each month.
What do you think the future of distribution looks like?
As online distribution matures, I hope that traditional windows will transform into a new structure that is designed to maximize revenue from films. Starting with windows that earn a film the most per viewer (e.g. TVOD, DVD, etc.) and slowly moving towards windows that have massive scale but at a lower revenue per viewer (e.g. SVOD, AVOD) will ensure the maximum amount of return.
I believe there will be fewer "middle men" as more avenues to distribution become democratized and accessible, and distributors will hone their skills at marketing to ensure they add value to a film's release.
Is it a fallacy that certain films should only be seen on the “big screen”?
People want to enjoy films whenever they want and wherever they want, so size of screen has really become irrelevant. It all comes down to personal preference, so in an ideal world it would be amazing if cinema-on-demand and video-on-demand coexisted to give viewers total empowerment.
For me personally, I prefer a big screen experience for slow, artistic films where I like to escape distractions from the outside world and really sink into the cinematic world of the movie.