All I know about Hulu is that is an on the web TV site that Alec Baldwin did a commercial for I saw. The only real reason I kept watching was because his short role in Glengarry Glen Ross was one hell of an acting performance. What sparked this post was an article I read in The Los Angeles Times business section with the headline – How many individuals are actually watching Hulu?
The smaller headline about measuring online audiences remains uncertain is what really caught my attention the most. I am an independent content producer that continues to rely more on video on demand (VOD) and online digital distribution to computers and mobile devices for sales to viewers.
Like many independent entertainment producers which are not backed by studios and corporations I turn to the Internet to self-promote Slice Of Americana Films releases. I took notice when Keith Richman, CEO of Break.com, expressed frustration that his video site, “was dramatically underrepresented and misrepresented” by online audience measuring systems.
After reading this excellent article by Times reporter Dawn C. Chmielewski I started think of how what is happening with media giants with regards to distributing entertainment on online to viewers pertains to the indie world. I immediately tossed out the advertisement dollars at stake because at the actual independent level there is not advertising revenue being distributed to producers, if you consider Google AdSense.
Where my focus went was to the debate on the amount of viewers that were really being reached online. Because underneath that argument that is very important to companies that stream content for free solely to generate income from advertisers there is an independent production side to the story.
Being an indie producer I cannot afford to provide away free content that takes work, time, and money to create. There are no advertising dollars being deposited in my own bank-account to stabilize the expense, pay people, and earn a living. What I really do is create entertainment that viewers enjoy and are willing to pay for on VOD or digital download.
Back once again to the debate on the amount of real online viewers for a website, how many people can be on hulu are companies influenced by advertising revenue and not sales of content over stating the paying demand for online content? Or is their take on things not building a difference between online viewers that buy content or watch content for free?
I would like to believe that viewers are willing to pay for quality entertainment from indie producers online. Today Slice Of Americana Films has mobile videos like Club Universe with Supermodel Joanna Krupa that sell for $1.50 a download which are succeeding, especially in Japan and Poland.
There is also a fruitful VOD run with the America’s Wildest Bachelor Parties reality series and Fantasy Striptease Private Shows via a company I won’t mention. The feature films Consignment and In With Thieves that I wrote, coproduced, and directed are with distributors. Honestly, I do not get any information on how digital sales online are going. The filmmaker is always last to know.
I personally do not think DVD is a dead format. It reminds of The Sky Is Falling with Chicken Little, but with websites on the internet hungry for advertising money sending the message. Fantasy Striptease Private Shows on DVD does solid sales numbers every month. Units are selling at a regular pace that tells me people still appreciate production value and not merely viral videos.