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5 Distribution Realities You Need To Plan For In 2021

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  1. Just because your content is shown doesn’t mean it is seen. So, you’re available on Netflix? Ok. But is anyone watching? That still is the point of making content: to be seen by an audience, not just make available by a platform.
  2. Long-lead. 2020 accelerated screen fatigue, content clutter, and last-minute decision-making. As a result, most marketing and publicity campaigns intensified around the final two weeks before launch. That will stick-around, but that doesn’t mean you start your campaign those final two weeks. Distribution (and marketing) require months of planning and preparation — from art to ads, dropping trailers to delivery to platforms — you need to be thinking months in advance of your release.
  3. Release day is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. We cannot emphasize this enough. The days of opening weekend are over. Many of us can remember when you’d know by Friday evening how you would perform theatrically, model out your ultimates, and have a nice spreadsheet of a film’s projections on the executive’s desk by Monday. No longer. Release day is when your campaign should accelerate in publicity, promotion, partnerships, advertising, social, and unconventional strategies to find and to grow your audience.
  4. See yourself as a brand manager. The year after your release date is as important, if not more so than the year leading up to your launch. Brand managers continue to look for unique ways to hack the news feed, grow new online audiences, develop new partnerships, or repackage how their products are presented. The same is true for content today. Film and show campaigns should look more like a book or a music campaign. Steady. Consistent. Evergreen. And with an audience that is likely to grow over time … with a lot of hustle, patience, and innovation.
  5. Control and ownership. What are the two issues that are most concerning to content-creators? Control and ownership. The lack of transparency. The inability to make great decisions due to incomplete data or information. The often mysterious reporting (under-reporting) of revenue. The frustrations associated with handing-off a project to another entity that locks up ownership for years. The list goes on. That is why we encourage (and execute for content-partners) a strategy that retains as much control and ownership as possible, leverages the best of industry platforms and processes while fighting to reduce fees, rights, and length of terms. The ultimate goal: you keep more of the revenue, the control, and have an easy way (as much as possible) to exit with all rights if things aren’t working out with a distributor. Add to that aggregation of audiences (lists, social, transactions), first-hand look at sales reports, and collection of real-time data and you are in a much stronger position for the long-term.

We plan to keep adding to this list over the next few weeks and months so check back for updates.

© Aspiration Entertainment, 2020-21

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