How to Make Money Self Distributing on Amazon Video Direct in 2020

How to Make Money Self Distributing on Amazon Video Direct in 2020

I have been seeing a lot of chatter on this page about the looming 2020 (read this article for that info) change in Amazon’s rev share and to be honest, it’s all complaining and it’s time to give that crap a rest, pull yourself together and wrap your head around how to make the best of self-distributing.

Although I am CEO of two indie distribution companies, I am also an indie producer and have been doing this for a long time. Trends change. Distribution outlets and models change. Rev share models change. This is nothing new. It’s been happening since the biz started and changes happen in every industry.

So, if you’ve made a film and you’re deciding to self-distribute and want to use Amazon and feel your movie has merit and can attract a paying audience then it’s time to stop crying about their rev share and use their massive platform to your advantage. On Amazon, you have some options.

Rental or Purchase is Better

First, you can decide to upload only to Instant. This will make your film available in the US and the UK as far as English Speaking territories go. That said, the US market alone has 95 million Prime subscribers. This doesn’t include the people who use Amazon without the Prime membership.

Now, just because you’re not on Prime does not mean Prime members won’t pay to rent your film if they know it’s there. So, hold back on Prime and set a reasonable rental price for your film. Whether that’s .99 cents or 4.99 – that’s up to you. You will keep 50% of every dollar earned.

Building Awareness

Once it’s live on Amazon, shoot over to Facebook, and create an official page for the film if you haven’t already. Invite all of your friends, family, cast and crew to LIKE and follow the official page. This helps start to build the audience and awareness. Then, take advantage of their marketing tools and create a few different audience ads. You can target specifics from the country or even specific cities if you believe your film will resonate in certain areas.

You can select gender, age range, hashtags, build in words and references that not only connect to your film’s subject matter as well as similar films to help drive awareness. By doing so it will help target people with similar interests and drive the ads into their streams.

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Getting the Word Out

Create several types of ads. On top of the target-specific ones, also make one targeted just toward people who like your page and their friends. You can save these ads so they will always be there. Hook up the Credit Card you wish to use and start to test the waters.

Drop in the actual Amazon link so it’s a direct click through and start promoting. Start with small ads – say 5 days for $10 bucks each. Then watch and see which ads start to resonate and promote those more often. Be proactive and hit LIKE when people comment. Answer fan questions. If they say something positive, ask them to please leave a good review on Amazon.

Same with cast, crew, family, and friends – ask them to leave a good review on Amazon. The more positive reviews you have the more awareness Amazon will give your film for FREE.

  • Promote the film link.
  • Promote the trailer.
  • Promote the poster.
  • Promote stills.
  • Promote clips.
  • Tag the cast when you post.
  • Ask the cast and crew to share the links.

If you have a little extra cash to spend, hire a smart, reasonable digital PR person or firm to give your film a little more presence but it’s not really required to see results in my opinion if you’re being smart about your targeted paid ads. The point is, BE PRO-ACTIVE in the self-distribution of your film rather than sit by and simply bitch about Prime’s rev share rate.

It’s still one of the best platforms, with a huge reach and massive built-in customer that you can reach directly if you do the work! Empower yourself rather than take a victim stance about this big, bad, mean, stingy platform. If people like the trailer and the price is right, they will rent it and maybe even purchase it. Now get to work!

Written by Joe Dain – Terror Films


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  1. Caroline Spence on December 18, 2019 at 3:29 am

    Thank you for such a great, no-nonsense, get off your ass and be proactive article. Not too long. Not too short. Definitely to the point and 100% informative!

  2. Filmtrepreneur on January 1, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    Thx you. Pleasure!

  3. Jane John-Nwankwo on July 21, 2020 at 2:11 am

    Thanks so much. I have your book ready on the filmtrepreneur.

    • Filmtrepreneur on August 25, 2020 at 9:06 am

      Glad you liked it. Please leave a review if you can on Amazon.