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Amazon Prime no longer accepts Documentaries and Shorts

Recently Amazon announced that it will no longer allow Short Films and Documentary Films to be submitted for distribution/streaming on their platform.

Thousands and thousands of indie filmmakers and hundreds of Distributors are effected by this new rule. Here’s what it means to you. The opportunity to jump start your distribution campaign has now changed. You’ll no longer be able to leverage Amazon in order to say “I’m on Amazon!” And that kind of prestige was a nice thing for the Indie Filmmaker. It meant that you had taken the time to place Close Captions on your movie, encoded and followed the other Amazon guidelines.

What it didn’t mean was that you would make a red-cent. And that’s a concern for Amazon, especially when a 3 minute UHD film can take up massive amounts of storage – – in some cases up to 300 Gigabytes for a Pro-Res (MOV) formatted 4K file. Imagine if you had to pay for that kind of storage! Even a giant like Amazon has to consider if a film is actually making them money, or merely taking up space (and costing them money.)

I’ve taken the liberty of grabbing a snapshot from the Amazon website. Here we go…

Even distributors like Kino Lorber and Icarus are effected by Amazon’s Lockout.

Interestingly enough, the Amazon website says that “unsolicited” films will not be accepted. And that would lead one to believe that (if) a distributor has an agreement with Amazon, then perhaps this new policy didn’t apply. But it does. On Filmmaker magazine, Kino Lorber, Icarus, and First Run Features all have commented that this policy will directly lock them out.

Even large Studios and Distribution companies have seen the Amazon Direct’s upload feature ghosted — it’s no longer possible to upload shorts or documentaries. This will effect many a filmmaker who consider Amazon to be the “go to” place to establish a distribution strategy.

What can be done? Most filmmakers have heard of platforms like FilmHub and Film Platform, and other online marketplaces. But — these platforms are not going to work when a Distributor cannot easily place content anymore. Studios and Indie film distributors depend on Amazon. Therefore, many a Studio/Distributor will have to concentrate on their own VOD venue. And that’s a tough sell, because the market is OVERSATURATED. It’s a mess — everyone and their brother has an online streaming platform, and everybody seems to have a Roku and/or Fire TV presence.

Why do new services pop up even when some of the largest funded streaming platforms have failed? For example, Quibi, the short-form streaming platform raised $1.75 billion from investors.  But they went out of business in 6 months.

Obviously, being online doesn’t mean anyone is watching! So starting your own Channel or Streaming-Website is a guaranteed fail. And OTT devices like Apple, Roku, and Fire TV offer developers a way to publish a “set top box” channel, but they are way over-saturated. Roku has over a million indie film channels, all fighting for the same 10 bucks…So forget doing your own. BUT THERE’S HOPE.

Get your film on a Roku or Fire TV channel that is established. If you can’t get your Short Film or Documentary on Netflix, Vudu, or Hulu then you can always stream your Short Film, TV program, or Documentary on my Channels. Sure, I don’t have millions of Subscribers, but my audience is quite large. I reach about 300,000 Subscribers on Roku, and over 350,000 on Amazon Fire TV.

You’re invited to join us. It’s nonexclusive, it’s simple, it’s painless.

What’s the catch? $7.00 for FilmFreeway Gold Members. 10 to 20 dollars for the general public. You heard right, to get your film streamed on Amazon it’s a one time fee of less than 25 bucks. That’s all it takes to set this up. Go directly to the monthly fest. (NO Obligation to compete, and you may submit your film monthly.) OR pm me on Facebook for more info. Cheers, (c) Dean Lachiusa 2021.

LINKS: Add a TV Channel to your Roku, Amazon, or Android here.