[p2p-research] Making Money By Giving Your Movie Away (But How Much?)

Ryan rlanham1963 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 29 22:16:54 CET 2009

  Sent to you by Ryan via Google Reader: Making Money By Giving Your
Movie Away (But How Much?) via Open Culture by Dan Colman on 11/29/09

Nina Paley created some buzz earlier this year when she decided to give
her award-winning animated film, Sita Sings the Blues, to the public,
releasing it under a Creative Commons license. This was another test of
the concept that artists can make money by giving their work away.
Today, The Wall Street Journal gives an accounting of how this theory
played out in practice. Here’s how things break down:

- Total donations from people who appreciate her giving out free
content: $23,000
- Profits from her online store which sells merchandise and DVDs:
- Theatrical distribution revenues: $3,000 (out of total box office
tally of $22,350)
- Additional DVD distribution: $3,000
- Broadcast television distribution: $3,000
- Revenue from Central Cinema in Seattle which showed the film: $4,000
- The grand total: $55,000
As the WSJ notes, these numbers don’t reflect the money she spent
making the film . (Paley puts the number at $150,000 in hard costs.)
They also don’t account for the indirect revenue that she will generate
down the line. But putting Sita Sings the Blues in front of so many
people, the world now knows a lot more about Nina Paley and her
talents. I have to believe that she can trade on that (if she wants to)
whenever she agrees to direct a film, or accepts a speaking engagement.
The WSJ equation doesn’t take this piece into account (it’s admittedly
hard to measure), but it’s probably the most important part of the
overall analysis.

You can download Sita Sings the Blues here, watch it on YouTube here,
or find it in our collection of Free Movies Online.

Related Content:

How I Sold My Book by Giving It Away: You should all see this separate
post by Seth Harwood. It focuses on similar issues, but translated to
the book world.

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