To get media buyers and reviewers interested in your content, you need to find a secure way to get them to engage with it. Traditionally, you would send them a 'screener', a preview of the content on a DVD or portable hard drive. And therein lies the problem…
Once physical copies of your content are out there in the world, you no longer have control over what happens to them, you have no idea if the DVD has been watched, or even if it reached its destination in the first place (without contacting the person to whom you sent it). Even signed-for copies of a DVD can go missing in a company with numerous employees, or be appropriated in places like post rooms, often without the knowledge of the person that it was originally sent to.
This can have huge repercussions. In 2015, for example, a pre-release copy of Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight was leaked online on pirate site Hive-CM8. Reports differ, but it seems that the pirated copy was downloaded between 200,000 and 600,000 times on the first day it was available online. It had a massive effect on the success of the film, so much so that representatives of the pirate site apologised, saying:
“We feel sorry for the trouble we caused by releasing that great movie before [its release date] had even begun. We never intended to hurt anyone by doing that, we didn’t know it would get that popular that quickly.” - read the full article at The Independent
The screener that provided this leak was identified by the FBI as being one sent to Alcon Entertainment, despite the co-CEO of the company saying he had no idea that the company had even received a copy of the film. “I have never seen this DVD,” co-CEO Andrew Kosove told entertainment website The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “It's never touched my hands.” - Read the full article at Hollywood Reporter
Clearly, having FBI agents turn up at the door of someone you are keen to impress with your content isn't the best way to start a successful business relationship. Private showings for big-ticket content can help you avoid this. But holding an event like this means you need to persuade the people to travel to see what you have created. Realistically, you need a system that's convenient for people to be able to view your content, while making sure it’s as secure as possible.
Online streaming has knocked out old DVD delivery services like LoveFilm and Blockbuster, because, quite simply, this isn't how people consume media these days. So why hasn't the world of pre-release DVD screeners caught up?
Let’s ditch the DVDs
One alternative is a branded Video Management and Distribution system. This kind of online platform can act as both store and showcase for your content, and access to it is controlled and secure. Reviewers can, for example, have a Netflix-like viewing experience wherever they are in the world (provided there's an internet connection available). You can control the level of access instantly and, if a download isn't offered, the physical copies aren't there to steal.
Better still, an online platform will also track how often your content has been viewed (if at all, allowing you to follow up with those still to interact with it). And, if the worst happens and content gets shared beyond its intended recipients, there’s the potential to investigate where a leak might have occurred.
Imagen adds even more security, delivering files with a built-in expiry time by digitally signing and dynamically updating links to media every six hours. These non-persistent URLs can help deter the unauthorised sharing of links, preventing visits from the FBI to your reviewer's office!
So, if you think it's high time you went for a less expensive and more convenient system for you to get content into reviewer’s hands securely, our advice is to leave the antiquated hardware behind, and take it all online in a one-stop shop for your content.
You can find out more about the advantages of using a Video Management and Distribution system by downloading our white paper entitled: "The Future of Premium Video Distribution" below.