Though there is abundant evidence that consumers don’t want to pay for video online, that hasn’t deterred startup MeDeploy from launching a service that allows both independent and larger-scale producers to sell their video content directly to consumers. The New Haven, Conn.-based company launched at the DEMO Conference last week.
Here’s how it works. Content owners looking to sell their digital wares register for either a MeDeploy Professional ($199.95 a month) or a MeDeploy Indie ($19.95 a month) account. Once an account is created, users upload their video content, trailers, cover art, etc. and choose the distribution points (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, etc.). MeDeploy then spits out code that can be pasted into those pages, which will handle all elements of the transaction including content management, DRM and credit card transactions. From there, users can track sales, create reports and more.
With the paid download model, MeDeploy is looking to succeed where other, bigger names have backed away. Brightcove, Google and AOL have all discontinued their pay-for-video services in the past year, and entertainment execs basically dug a grave for the model by saying that free content via piracy forces all online video content to be free.
Warning signs, shmorning signs; MeDeploy CEO Christian Taylor sees an opportunity for independent creators. Taylor says his company is a lot like YouTube, only instead of giving away your video, you can sell it. Plus, Taylor says that MeDeploy does everything for the user — no web development skills required.
A perfect example of this potential market could be found in one of MeDeploy’s beta testers. Brain Damage sells low budget, ultra-B-rated horror movies like Death Factory and Shower of Blood. Brain Damage has been using MeDeploy for seven months (though three of those months were spent ramping up) and according to President Darrin Ramage, in that time Brain Damage has seen its digital offerings grow 25-30 percent each month, and a 20 percent uptick in DVD sales.
Though MeDeploy just launched last week, it was actually started two years ago, when Taylor was with his previous company, XCreative Interactive, which did movie marketing on social networks. Seeing an opportunity in the distribution of content, Taylor shut down XCreative to start MeDeploy, which now has three execs and “some” part-time developers.
Taylor transferred XCreative’s assets to the new company and took close to $100,000 in angel funding. MeDeploy makes money through subscriptions, and takes a cut of revenues generated through the service.