ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Bring on the Pain #6: Netflix —

Continuing the riveting story of one guy with a perfectly fine documentary trying to go to all the distribution points that well-meaning people tell him in endless fan letters he should go to.

Previous pain coverage was here:  Introduction,  #1, #2, #3, #4, #5.

On with the show!

From: Submissions <submissions@netflix.com>
Subject: Netflix Submission of "BBS: The Documentary"
Dear Jason Sadofsky:

Thank you for your submission to Netflix.  We have received and reviewed your materials.  
Unfortunately, we are unable to make "BBS: The Documentary" available through Netflix as
a direct account.

Please contact Victory Multimedia to make your title available for rent on Netflix.  Victory
Multimedia works with many independent film producers and small distributors.  If you wish to establish a
distribution agreement with Victory Multimedia, they will represent "BBS: The Documentary" directly to
Netflix. You are under no obligation to work with Victory Multimedia and the link below will provide you
with a full list of distributors to choose from.

The following URL will take you to this list:

http://www.business.com/directory/media_and_entertainment/home_entertainment/distributors_and_wholesalers/ [www.business.com]

If you wish to establish a distribution agreement with Victory Multimedia, please contact Randy Freeman
at Victory Multimedia at your earliest convenience.

Once again, thank you for your submission and we look forward to making your title availablefor rent on Netflix.

Sincerely,

Netflix Submissions

Just so we’re clear, I submitted my information and DVD set to Netflix over seven months ago. Seven months passed before they sent an e-mail telling me that they don’t deal with small distributors/individuals for Netflix.

Will I call Randy? Sure. A phone call’s cheap, as I just wrote an entry about. But since most “distributors” take a massive chunk out of the price, I am not so sure I’ll go that way.

Onward.


Categorised as: documentary | jason his own self

Comments are disabled on this post


21 Comments

  1. Peter says:

    Where is the rest of the text? It ends with ‘But since most “distributors” take a massive chunk out of the ‘

  2. Michael Kohne says:

    I suspect that they want you to go through a distributor as a filter. They don’t want to carry every home-made pile of crap, distributed on home-burned DVDs, labeled with a sharpie, so they use your ability to get a distributor to carry you as their ‘real enough to matter’ filter. They probably figure that if you aren’t sold via a distributor, you aren’t real enough for any significant number of their customers to care.

    The funny thing is that this is close enough to the truth that it probably makes good business sense for them – they simply refuse to deal with non-distributors and the number of requests for legitimate movies that they don’t have remains so small that it doesn’t hurt their bottom line.

    As to the seven months though – that’s just stupid. What were they doing? Trying to decide which distributor to point you to? If they are going to reject the small guys, then they really have an obligation (under the rule ‘don’t be a bigger jackass than you can help’) to do it quickly.

  3. Drew Wallner says:

    Agreed on both points with Michael…it sucks but I imagine dealing exclusively with distributors and not with independent filmmakers is probably just part of their supply chain model, as it would be difficult to balance the time costs of dealing with individuals versus the relative importance (in dollars, not artistic or educational merit) of those works to the Netflix target consumer. Also, none of this excuses the wait time. If anything, you would think the “thanks but no thanks” responses would be rapid, and the “okay, let’s move forward here’s the next step” responses would be the delayed ones.

    Frustrating, but I hope you move ahead, it would be wonderful to see the documentary on Netflix. I would recommend the hell out of it to my friends!

  4. Chris Barts says:

    Am I the only one who got a cut-off entry? I’ve tried multiple browsers and the final paragraph cuts off mid-sentence with “But since most “distributors” take a massive chunk out of the” I’m pretty sure this is not what Jason intended anyone to see.

  5. Chris says:

    Netflix did (maybe still does) offer Cringely’s “Triumph of the Nerds”, a multi-hour documentary about the history of the personal computer, for rental. I consider Jason’s work on a par with this, so I’d be disappointed if Netflix decided to pass on offering “BBS”.

    Blockbuster Online, on the other hand, sucks when it comes to offering documentary and special interest material..back to Cringely again, BBO doesn’t offer ANY of his PBS stuff (Nerds, Plane Crazy, Nerds 2.0, Electric Money, Y2K, etc.)

  6. Greg Maletic says:

    I had direct contacts at Netflix that were handed right to me, and it still took 7+ months to even get a conversation started about them taking TILT. And that’s after 1) they’d already been listing TILT on their site for 2 years as “unavailable”, and 2) I’d already secured distribution with one of their business partners, New Video. It was an arduous journey. (To be fair, once the ball got rolling, they were very easy to deal with.)

    Hopefully BBS Documentary will make it, too. There is absolutely no reason why it wouldn’t be a great addition to Netflix.

  7. Mass. Playa says:

    Dealt with Randy before. He’s an a$$. Save yourself some time from calling him. Just dont do it. Find someone else

  8. Erin says:

    Came across your blog while Googling Victory Multimedia. Wondering if you ever continued on with distributorship for your film to get it on Netflix. Was also recently contacted by Passion River to get the film on Netflix–wondering what happened on your end.

  9. Barbara says:

    Wow, I had an offer too from Passion River, but didn’t get the details yet. Have you talked to them? They seem to have nice films.

  10. Chris says:

    Passion River is a GREAT company. Very honest and helpful toward filmmakers. Victory Multimedia is evil. Randy is very mean-spirited and they are all about taking cash from the filmmaker. I just had my film released through Passion River and they were lovely :)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Also, dealt with Randy. Not a good experience. Avoid at all costs.

  12. Goldie says:

    DONT SIGN ANYTHING WITH VICTORY MULTIMEDIA. RANDY FREEMAN IS A SCAMMER AND WILL NEVER PAY YOU. HE ALSO IS THE BIGGEST JERK I HAVE EVER MET.

  13. newbie says:

    Goldie, and everyone else, I signed with Victory also,I have to agree, Randall Freeman is an a$$hole in the biggest sense, if it weren’t for his staff, I would look elsewhere, but I am new and don’t know too many distributors

  14. For the newbie who signed with VM, please stay on top of your invoices and DO NOT LET too many pile up before you receive payment from VM as you do not want to send out too many dvds and never get paid. We started with VM (unfortunately!) and eventually terminated our contract with it because of nonpayment and of course R Freeman’s erratic behavior. Please research other distributors while you are working with VM so that if you have a bad experience, you have another distributor to help you sell your product. VM does not really act as distributor but more as a drop ship channel. Reliable distributors we now work with order directly from us and then send the items to their customers and PAY ON TIME.

  15. Troylady says:

    We had the same experience with VM. I want to cancel our contract with them but can’t bear another phone conversation with Randy Freeman We have had a GREAT experience with Midwest Tapes out of Holland, OH. They are courteous and responsive and pay their bills. And, unlike VM, they have a website. http://www.midwesttapes.com.

  16. jabbergirl says:

    What company did you eventually end up using? I’ve just been contacted by Victory also…was referred by Baker & Taylor, and just from reading the agreement I have some of the same concerns. Would love to get some other referrals so I’m not at their mercy. Thanks.

  17. paulm says:

    In August of 2010 we were paid for all DVDs shipped as of Jan 2010. Since then Victory Multimedia has not sent any payments, and now Randy Freeman is telling us that he hasn’t been paid by 8 different companies. I find it hard to believe that they all stopped paying their bills at the same time. For the people having trouble being paid: Did you get paid eventually? What did you have to do?

    I am preparing to file a lawsuit.

  18. paulm says:

    Also, could you please recommend other reputable general sub-distributors that sell to larger distributors? That’s essentially what Victory Multimedia does.

  19. Nia says:

    Im ready to file a lawsuit against Victory as well. We have not been paid in over a year.

  20. Betty says:

    Victory hasn’t paid me in over a year too, Randy is a TOTAL asshole. I can’t stand talking with him on the phone, it’s absolutely awful. He will swear at you, treat you like dirt. In all my years of business, I’ve never dealt with someone as awful as him. I think his business is sinking and he can’t pay his bills.

  21. Betty says:

    Now that I’ve read SO many stories about Victory’s lack of payment why don’t we all get together and file a class action lawsuit against Randal Freeman, the white collar criminal. Baker & Taylor, Ingram, AEC, Netflex, Video Product Distribution etc. need to know what kind of criminal they are dealing with. Those companies should pay us for the products they received and Randy didn’t pay for. This isn’t right.