From social video community to robust media distribution platform with over 300 active titles, VHX has had an impressive journey over the past two years. On Monday, it took a new step towards the democratization of content distribution by opening the platform to anyone who has a video they want to sell directly to consumers.
VHX has officially been in public beta since September 2012, but the service is now fully open to users; features available to uploaders include the ability to send out coupons and screener copies of their work, plus control pricing and geoblocking.
The official dashboard offers transaction tracking and a list of previous customers who have subscribed to a project’s mailing list. In addition, VHX is lowering the rates it charges creators, now taking 10 percent (plus a $0.50 fee per transaction) instead of the previous cut of 15 percent. (The new pricing will apply retroactively — previous users will be migrated to it.)
Other developments in the works include better tools for audience building and community management (such as a newsletter creation feature), as well as a “video locker” that, in CEO Jamie Wilkinson’s words via phone, will “operate the way Ultraviolet is supposed to.”
While VHX was initially selective about the films it would distribute, Wilkinson said that he wasn’t concerned about any potential distillation of the brand.
“The big reason for limiting the films was that we wanted to have high level of customer service,” he said. “It was less about brand control and more about building a platform for a lot of use cases.” According to him, the VHX home page drives “relatively little traffic.”
VHX has continued to pick up high-profile projects — just recently, it was announced that Kevin Spacey (Gigaom’s favorite political psychopath) would be distributing a new documentary through the service.
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But while it’s made a name for itself as a distributor of independent film, VHX is now exploring other potential genres.
“There’s a lot of areas of video that we haven’t gone really deep with,” Wilkinson said. “Lots of content that used to be sold on DVD could be sold online,” including lectures and tutorial series.
With the site now open to the public, it’s not as possible for the VHX team to take the hands-on approach they have in the past. However, according to Wilkinson, the years of beta-testing have helped them develop the tools necessary to make VHX scalable.
“That’s why we’ve been in public beta for so long — we’ve been dealing with customer support and payment structure,” he said. “We’ve built up a body of knowledge that we can share, with lots of great examples and case studies.” VHX currently has 16 employees, with two dedicated full-time to customer service and others chipping in occasionally.
“We have our sights set pretty big,” Wilkinson said.
Featured image via @VHXTV on Twitter.