From screenings to streaming: How IndieFlix leverages offline events to grow their online video business

Finding room to grow in the over-the-top (OTT) streaming space can seem daunting, especially when 91% of households subscribe to the dominating players: Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. Yet creators and businesses of all shapes and sizes are finding success with distributing niche content online. Take IndieFlix — a company focused on promoting and supporting social impact films and filmmakers. With tens of thousands of subscribers (and more joining every month), IndieFlix is a prime example of how with some creative thinking and marketing, niche content can find success in the OTT and live video space. We sat down with CEO and Co-Founder, Scilla Andreen, to learn more.

After pivoting from DVDs to streaming, Scilla was managing a team of developers to maintain their online films. She quickly found that the energy and resources it took to manage it on their own was at the expense of IndieFlix’s core mission: to create and distribute content for good.

“As we grew, it became a little too much,” Scilla says. “Am I going to focus on the technology piece, or am I going to focus on the marketing and content creation? The best way to grow the company would be to find a partner to support our back-end infrastructure.” By partnering with Vimeo OTT, IndieFlix has been able to refocus their efforts on creating films on social impact, and using them as conversation starters in communities around the world.

Learn more about their decision to work with Vimeo OTT in this highlight:

Marketing strategies for video businesses

Like many small and scrappy teams, IndieFlix has a limited marketing budget. They rely on social media, a weekly email newsletter, employee benefit programs, and Vimeo OTT’s promo codes to draw in new and maintain existing customers. But their greatest driver of marketing success stems not from a digital outlet, but rather in-person events. IndieFlix partners with schools and communities to screen their films. An open conversation follows, and attendees want to continue learning well after the event ends. Where do they go? Back to IndieFlix.com.

For example, Angst, an IndieFlix original documentary, focuses on the challenges many people face in coping with and managing anxiety; thousands of people have seen the film in screenings around the world. In an effort to further the conversation around normalizing anxiety, IndieFlix is launching a follow-up series to the film exclusively on their Vimeo OTT platform. Attendees who learn about IndieFlix at an offline event are driven back to their OTT platform, subsequently increasing their online subscriber base.

In addition to driving attendees back to their digital offerings, Scilla is planning to leverage live streaming as part of their next film, to bring their customers closer to the behind-the-scenes creation process.

Finally, some sound advice for those looking to dive into the OTT space:

Learn more about IndieFlix’s marketing tactics, as well as what advice Scilla has for those looking to jump into OTT and live streaming, in our full webinar below:

If you’re interested in exploring IndieFlix for yourself, they’re offering an exclusive discount just for our readers: use code angst to get 33% off your monthly subscription, for up to 12 months.

Vimeo provides an all-in-one OTT technology solution — from white-label apps to flexible monetization tools — for individuals and businesses to create branded video subscription services across all major platforms and connected devices. Learn more about starting your own OTT channel with our free resources today.

[Case Study] How ISC Sports Network blends live streaming with video subscriptions

When Greg Maish, President of ISC Sports Network, began using Vimeo Livestream, his goal was to live stream sports from around Indiana into the homes of surrounding communities. “We had this vision of a single place where people can come and see local sports,” he said. “We wanted it to be accessible and readily available, for all of our sports fans.”

In just four years, ISC Sports has grown from strictly live streaming games into a full-fledged online channel, using Vimeo OTT to offer live and on-demand sports content. Learn more about how Maish used Vimeo to scale his local sports business, grow his audience, and monetize video content in our interview below.

Growing from live streams to on-demand video

Working in telecommunications for most of his career, Maish understood the trajectory of cord-cutting behavior, especially those who opt into OTT content, or services that go “over the top” of traditional cable providers. “At the end of the day, we all are TV consumers — but we are also very much OTT consumers, whether it’s Roku, Amazon, Chromecast, or even on our mobile devices,” he said.

After digging into his viewers’ behavior in Vimeo Livestream’s analytics, Maish made an interesting discovery. Despite the in-the-moment experience of live sports, there was a surge in broadcast views after the events ended. “It’s an interesting dynamic. We’ll get maybe the same number of views that we get during the game itself,” he said.

With this intel, Maish saw an opportunity to grow his audience with OTT. “Vimeo OTT was the piece that was missing,” he said. “We wanted a ready-to-go, fully developed solution. It’s been a real easy way in [to the OTT industry],” he said, referring to the simple content management tools and branded apps available in the platform.

Generating and growing ad revenue with Vimeo

For many broadcasters, advertising is a critical source of revenue. Admittedly, “local sports is not always that easy to sell,” Maish said (ISC Sports competes with 10 Division I NCAA colleges in the Hoosier state). Using Vimeo OTT’s analytics, Maish was able to pinpoint the number of viewers his productions brought in, where those views came from, their watch time, and more.

“[The analytics] give us great feedback on stuff we would normally guess on,” he said, and unlike other television measurement models, the data is precise. “It’s not a guess, it’s not an estimation — it’s really what’s happening.” Providing quantitative data to advertisers, and subsequently guaranteeing that their product or service will be seen, makes for a straightforward transaction.

Tips to live stream sports

ISC Sports is a prime example of starting scrappy and scaling quickly. How did they achieve their success with building a local sports network in just four years?

1. Know your vision. “You’ve really got to have a vision when you get started,” he said, while acknowledging that it can (and likely will) change. “Ours has evolved over time.

2. Top-notch, reliable distribution. Your business won’t gain traction unless you’re broadcasting quality content to bring in and maintain viewership. “That’s where having a partner like Vimeo plays into our business strategy,” he said. “With Vimeo, we know that when we’re out streaming, it will work. It’s always just worked, and that’s been a key ingredient in our success.”

In the end, Maish remains invested in and reliant on Vimeo to support ISC because of the team behind the platforms. “One thing we’ve learned as both a community-facing service provider and from dealing with vendors, is that loyalty is everything to us,” he said. “If we feel secure in that relationship, we will preach it from the rooftops.”

“When a vendor does what they say they will do and they do it well, we will be vocal to say, ‘These are the guys you want.’ Looking at what we have with Vimeo, we will share the good news with anyone who needs to hear.”

Engaged audiences spark business growth

Through their highly-engaged audience and growing advertising base, ISC Sports now broadcasts all over Indiana. “Our production team continues to grow,” Maish said. “Even for a local game, we may have 10 guys there doing things. We’ve had to evolve into multiple crews, trying to cover as much as we can.”

Fortunately, as demand grows, so does ISC Sports’ bottom line. “What we’re spending is very manageable,” he said, referring to Vimeo’s Livestream and OTT price points. “[It’s] something we can not only pay for, but it makes it a profitable endeavor for us.”

Learn more about how to grow your business — and audience — with on-demand video in our guidebook, The 2018 OTT Revolution. By analyzing 1.3B consumer data points, we took the guesswork out of how viewers consume and subscribe to video content, empowering you to focus on expanding your reach and maintaining subscribers.