INTERVIEW WITH… MELANIE REED FROM FLIQIO
As technology progresses over the years, so to do the ways filmmakers distribute and spread their work. We got the chance to talk to Melanie Reed, founder of Fliqio, about what their new platform holds in store for filmmakers and the future.
Tell us a bit about your job, and what you do…
I’m the founder and CEO of Fliqio, a revenue share mobile VOD platform that works in much the same way as Spotify does. Below is our brief product demo so you can see how our service works.
As we are quite early stage I do a bit of everything from dealing with legal and financial issues to writing product specs and liaising with festivals and filmmakers. We partner with film festivals, short film exhibitors, websites and magazines who curate short films and videos for our platform. Their role is to invite filmmakers they admire, or who have screened at their festivals and events, to submit their films to our platform. In return they get a 10% share of subscription revenue for their curation work and filmmakers get a 50% share of subscription revenue for their films.
Right now our main focus is towards gearing up for our crowd funding campaign in July, between speaking at and attending festivals. We have also recently started accepting direct submissions so a lot of our time is spent watching, rating and curating films.
As a filmmaker, if you would like to submit your film you may do so by going to www.fliq.io and clicking ‘submit my film’. We just need your name, email and a link to your film file online.
How important do you feel having a social presence is as a creative?
Building an audience to watch their films is incredibly important for any filmmaker to make a name for themselves and ultimately to earn revenue. Nowadays social media is one of the main ways in which people communicate with one another and interact with the world around them. Thus having a social presence is a vital means for filmmakers to reach their audience, grow their audience and market and monetise their films.
We are writing a guide that focuses on this topic in a lot more detail titled ‘How to Succeed at Online Distribution: Master marketing and social media’. You can sign up for it here.
What’s been the shift in distribution over the years for short film, and why?
Years ago when I was a young girl in South Africa watching a film cost 2 South African Rand (about 25 pence), short films were played to audiences before a feature film. These short films were later eclipsed by long expensive adverts as cinemas cottoned on to the fact that adverts are a key revenue earner.
Since then, with the advent of the internet and online platforms that focused on video content, short films have made their way online. Short film screenings on big screens have retreated to become almost exclusively screened at film festivals – one of the more affordable means for aspiring filmmakers to make a name for themselves – as well as at short film screening events for niche short film enthusiast audiences.
Online, short films found their home on specialist short film websites and on video sharing websites such as Vimeo and YouTube where they sit amongst a plethora of home videos, ads and trailers. Online they have the potential to be watched by wide audiences (if they market themselves well, are exceptionally good or just lucky) and earn small increments of revenue through donations or ad pre- and post-rolls on sites like Vimeo and YouTube.
Most recently there has been a shift in online distribution with major platforms like Vimeo-on-Demand and VHX coming onto the market and allowing filmmakers to self-distribute online and charge audiences per view for downloading or streaming their films. This was possible previously through platforms like iTunes, if you were willing to pay an agent to represent and convert your film according to their specs to get onto their platform. Unfortunately the onus is still very much on the filmmaker to build their audience. Even less encouraging for short film creators is that audiences aren’t really as willing to pay for short films on a pay-per-view basis unless they have a star cast, have had a lot of press or won a major festival. Audiences are far more willing to pay subscription fees for collections of quality short films, but there are not many options available for this yet.
Our aim is to shift this trend by creating an organised mobile platform of high quality short video content where users can easily find films they want to watch, when they want to watch them, any time or place, on or offline. We plan to do this through filters allowing users to select genres, themes or tags; to select the duration of the film and whether they want to watch it on or offline.
We plan to build our audience through traditional and online marketing means and by allowing festivals, exhibitors and makers of high quality short film to collaborate in one place by sharing their audiences and thus creating a network effect that they all benefit from.
Think of it this way, as a user you might like dark comedies – through the Fliqio app you can easily find a high quality selection of dark comedy short films on your smart phone or tablet, for the duration of time you have requested, that you may also organise by ratings given by our curators and your friends. The more you use it, the better it gets at knowing your taste and what to recommend you. You may also download these films for 24 hours to watch offline. As a filmmaker you benefit off other filmmakers, exhibitor and festival audiences, and channels and you know those are audiences that appreciate short film and are willing to pay to view them.
We have also written a guide on ‘How to distribute your short film online: Understand the market trends and how to leverage them’. You can sign up for it here.
Lots of people are having a multi-platform release of their film. What are the benefits, or drawbacks, if there are any?
Generally speaking having your film on multiple platforms means you have more chance of reaching a much wider, potentially even global, audience. The costs, however, are the time and energy spent researching and loading your films onto all these platforms. The other consideration to take into account is timing and opportunity cost. Putting your film onto revenue earning and free websites means you could lose out on potential earnings. We cover this topic in a lot more detail and in a way that you can put into practice in our series of guides on ‘How to successfully distribute your short film online: Choose the right VOD platforms and business models for you’ on our blog.
If someone wants to know more about Fliqio, how best should they get in touch?
By visiting our website where they can:
- find out more information, including our product demo video, on our About Us page and in our FAQ’s
- register for updates and alerts about our launch and crowdfunding campaign where we will be pre-selling subscriptions at a significantly reduced rate
- submit their films
- read our guides on ‘How to successfully distribute your short film online’
Tell us the best and worst part of your job.
The best part is dealing with the filmmakers and partners such as festivals, curators, websites and magazines, who genuinely seem to love what we are doing. Watching the films is not bad either. The worst part is working around the clock and missing out on seeing friends and family. Fingers crossed it will all be worth it!
Share with us one of your favourite films and tell us why you like it…
That’s a tough question! There are so many short films that are amazing for so many different reasons that it is really difficult to choose just one. That said, one of my old favourites is ‘The Dark Side of the Lens’ for its inspiring message, its celebration of nature and of course for how beautifully it is shot and expertly executed.
Many thanks to Melanie for taking the time to speak to us about Fliqio. Do check out their guides on the website, and we’ll be speaking to the Fliqio folks later in the year.
Melanie is the founder of Fliqio. She is also a nature lover and supporter of the arts. Melanie specialises in building technology products with a community focus and online market places. She has worked at blue chip companies and leading, global start ups.