It's all Home Entertainment now!

VOD Strategy
Ben Johnson
Updated on 25/03/2022

Right now I think it's safe to assume that we are all sick of hearing about the Coronavirus. While things are going to be complicated over the next few months, we should also look for the opportunities as well as prepare for the tough times ahead. This article is designed to help you get the most out of your Video on Demand strategy.

  • The pattern over the upcoming months will be streaming, with TVOD offering previously unimaginable early access to significant recent, current & upcoming theatrical films
  • Piracy is going to ‘SkyRocket’ with this digital access to premium content, with a flood of torrent and streaming links - the only way to combat this effectively will be by promoting access to legal TVOD titles and informing the public where to find them


Example of the Gruvi's Movie Marketing VoD player working inside Facebook Mobile App
  • In the short term: there is a truly captive audience for TVOD worldwide this should be viewed as the opportunity it is
  • In the long term: this audience will become much bigger and more familiar with TVOD, the opportunity exists to ensure the TVOD option remains front & centre of your audience strategies
  • Nothing in this article explains the panic buying of Toilet Paper, that is still a large mystery!

iTunesThe only truly international platform for film launches, and they provide good tools for conversion tracking and reporting. You can measure results with the help of their affiliate programme, which allows you to generate parameters such as campaign name, channel, etc, that are extremely important in creating a successful campaign (more on that later).
The downside to iTunes is that the service seems to be in decline as most of our campaigns' audiences seem to favour Amazon and Google Play.

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AmazonAmazon is broken into two areas through which you can sell movies. The first is the Amazon MarketPlace, where most products on Amazon can be found. The second is Amazon Prime, their dedicated VOD platform that combines subscription and transactional VoD offerings.
Amazon MarketPlace (AMP) has an affiliate programme but it's more complicated to register & launch an account: they have strict policies and processes on content management which must be followed to the letter, and can result in significant delays and may even see your account blocked. Be prepared to back and forth with admins on the first few films you work on.
Unfortunately, AMP is not linked with Amazon Prime, despite Prime being available in over 200 markets. AMP is also not a strong channel for promotion in the non-English speaking markets (with the exception of Germany).
Google PlayProvides access to Youtube movies and movies within the google play store.
'Youtube Movies' is a great service with its huge potential audience of Youtube users and the fact that a film can be easily found via the Youtube search function (the second most used search engine after Google). However, content must be subbed or dubbed for each local market, even in countries where English is a strong second language (such as Scandinavia and Benelux), which is an added expense to most international roll-outs. Also, there is no affiliate programme set-up for films in Google Play (despite this being the case for Apps and Games), so sales of an individual title cannot be tracked.
VimeoThe most flexible of all the services and (with the right set up) the easiest to track once you have set up a professional account. It has the benefit of a simple interface, but the downside is that it is a niche platform in the eyes of most consumers: without dedicated marketing, your content will not travel far organically.


The most effective way to market your movies is through targeted digital advertising. Despite this, reporting and tracking sales of your films is complicated on most major streaming services. The following is a short guide to help you ensure you have the right technical set up:
Major ServicesIf you are planning to release your film via the major international services you will most likely only be able to access them via an Aggregator. Aggregation services (companies that have a direct connection with Netflix, Amazon, etc) are companies that have direct relationships with these providers with a bulk upload process, designed to handle the many movies they process each month.

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The problem with bulk uploads is that it makes the process of tracking sales and tagging audiences for retargeting (more on this later) extremely difficult or near impossible. Reporting on actual sales progress is also slow for services like Amazon and Google Play, which can take anywhere between one month and three months to feedback this information.
Therefore, wherever possible, upload directly if you have your own connection to the major platforms, and ensure your Merchant account details are in place. Your Aggregator contact may have different options available re-uploading etc; it will be worth confirming what those are, as they may be able to help you with this.
Other VendorsThese include such regional players such as Mubi, Canal+, ViaPlay, Chilli and local players such as,,, Curzonhome cinema, NOWTV, etc.
There are many different providers out there, each has its benefits and disadvantages so it's important that you weigh these carefully whilst planning your distribution strategy.
If you have a direct agreement with any provider it is important as a vendor to ask the following two questions:
1. Do they have an affiliate system (an internal tagging system that allows advertising to integrate with tracking) in place?
2. Can they supply third party access to tools such as an Admin Panel to measure sources of traffic for purchase, or can they provide access to Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager (in order for your agencies to be able to track sales in realtime, and more importantly, track sales through Attribution windows (explanation follows).
Two extremely important terms you should familiarise yourselves within the VOD world are:

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AttributionAttribution is an important concept in online advertising. If you run Cost Per Click campaigns to your TVOD releases on multiple advertising networks such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc it's very important to know what traffic source, campaign, individual ad, and targeting created the highest Return on Ad Spend. This way you can increase your revenue by A/B testing ad copy, or targeting, before allocating more budget to the network that has a higher conversion rate, etc.


You will also be able to reach the same potential audience member via a number of different channels - for instance, he or she may discover your trailer on Youtube, but it might be a later campaign on Facebook or Twitter that gets them to convert their interest in the film into actual purchase.
Attribution is also a consideration re the time phases for conversion. Not all of your audience will purchase after seeing their first ad, most (80%+) will come back at a future time when it suits them to watch a film. That is why most of our campaigns start trying to reach as wide an audience as possible within the agreed target group. Once that reach is maximised (within the limits of the budget) the tactics should be to switch to a conversion campaign, then be switched to a conversion campaign to retargeting those individuals that expressed the greatest level of interest in the ads.
If you have set your attribution windows correctly you will then be able to track who converts within the following time periods:

  • 1 click
  • 24 hours
  • 3 days
  • 7 days
  • 28 days

With this set-up you can see how long it takes, and how many exposures it takes, to convert a potential audience member into an actual buyer.

Movie marketing

A user will need to be retargeted several times before they commit to making a purchase, and may very well eventually return to a platform in order to make that purchase sometime after they actually engage with your ad. Without this valuable tracking data you will have no idea if they have done this, nor will you know when to retarget them with further ads in order to reach them at the specific time when they may be sitting at home, in the mood to watch a film.

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VOD Strategy