Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

General Questions

Consumer Questions

Distribution Questions

Support and Help

Service Features

Marketing Support

General Questions

What is IndiePlaya?  - Return to top

IndiePlaya is the revolutionary online film distribution platform that empowers independent filmmakers and distributors with DIY marketing tools and business intelligence that help optimize the packaging, guerilla marketing and distribution of film content to highly targeted audiences. Powered by IndiePlaya's patent-pending technologies, content providers now have access to our easy-to-use, self-service toolkit to upload their films and manage all marketing and distribution settings instantly.

Who is IndiePlaya for?  - Return to top

The IndiePlaya platform is for filmmakers and distributors of festival-worthy feature films and documentaries. It is ideal for content providers who want complete control over the distribution and marketing of their content. We offer a complete solution that allows you to distribute and market your video online, enabling you to reach broader audiences and significantly increase your revenues. We capture a wide array of data about your content, your audience and market trends, and share that information with you in the form of metrics and business intelligence to help you make smart decisions to grow your business.

Consumer Questions

Why do the "add to cart" buttons work the way that they do?  - Return to top

You are purchasing a digital good on IndiePlaya, and because of this, it doesn't make any sense for you to buy more than one version of the same film at a time. So, for example, if you add a "purchase" to your cart, we disable the "rental" option, or if you purchase a bundle containing multiple films, then the "purchase" and "rental" options for each individual film become disabled. Films can also be promoted on our site by means of a discounted price. Adding a discounting film to your cart will replace any other versions of this film that are already in your cart. Just as it does not make sense to buy the same film twice at the same price point, it doesn't make sense to pay twice for a film at a discounted price. You can always remove an item in your cart on the checkout page.

Why does PayPal tell me I am purchasing more items that I put in my cart?  - Return to top

If you look closely at the contents of your PayPal cart, they contain the same items as the items on IndiePlaya, but because of limitations in the PayPal interface, we cannot describe complicated things without itemizing your cart. So, if you bought a promotion for some film, we will have an item in the PayPal cart that describes the promotion (and its price), and there will be an entry for each film in the promotion listed with no price associated with it (meaning that you aren't paying extra for any item). The prices should always match, and if you have any questions, you can always contact our support team.

Why are some films available in streaming-only versions and not downloadable?  - Return to top

IndiePlaya is concerned about giving filmmakers and distributors the option of protecting their films from digital piracy, and because of this, we allow content providers the option of offering streaming-only versions of their films or streaming + digital downloads. Consequently, not all films on are available for download.

Because we understand that many independent film lovers consider Digital Rights Management (DRM) to be restrictive (meaning you, as a consumer, are limited in your ability to watch a film on whatever computer or device you choose), you can rest easy knowing that when you download a video file from IndiePlaya, you can watch it on any player capable of playing the industry standard H.264 video format, whether it be on your personal entertainment device (e.g., iPod or Zune), smart-phone (e.g., iPhone or Android), set-top-box (e.g., Roku, Tivo or AppleTV), or any computer operating system (e.g., Windows, Mac or Linux) that you may own.

This approach affords filmmakers and distributors a choice - to reach the largest possible audience (by offering streaming and downloadable versions of their films), or to trade such openness for the added protections that accompany a streaming-only option that minimizes piracy. In exchange for the option to download films from our site, we require that you will respect the rights of filmmakers and agree to not upload or share any unauthorized copies of the film with others.

Where's the stuff I purchased?  - Return to top

Each time you make a purchase, your new video is added to your video library. You can find it later in our navigation menu, which is located on the left side of each page. Your purchases can be found under Home->Favorites (organized by Genre or Title) and under My Activity->My Recently Purchased.

Distribution Questions

What is the cost for distribution?  - Return to top

You don't pay a cent unless someone buys or rents your video. It's as simple as that. At the time you select your offering terms (including price) in the Catalog Manager, the default price for your video includes a quote for the cost of delivery (and is the minimum price you can charge). This quote is based on the size of your video file. Larger files cost more to deliver, so we charge slightly more to deliver those. The current delivery cost includes our $1.99* transaction fee + the current credit card transaction processing fees and network storage/delivery costs.

Every time a customer makes a purchase or rental through our service, we keep our delivery cost and pass the rest on to you. If it costs us less to deliver the films (e.g., if the user had multiple items in their shopping cart and we can spread the cost for that fee across multiple items or if our network delivery costs go down for whatever reason), then we will pass those savings on to you. When we send you your money, we will itemize these charges so that you have full transparency in your transactions. We keep these costs extremely low by providing a platform that can deliver video from thousands of filmmakers to millions of consumers. We want you to be successful in reaching a broad audience, and believe that the best way to achieve that is by keeping your costs low.

*We actually charge the lesser of $1.99 or 50% of your video's sale or rental price, down to a floor of 99 cents. While we encourage all filmmakers and distributors to avoid charging "bargain basement" prices for their films initially (to avoid what we call a "race to the bottom" in pricing), we offer a fee structure that enables content providers to sell or rent their films for a lesser amount while still making a profit.

How do I get started? And how does it all work?  - Return to top

Sign up for an account today (it's free) by clicking on the New Users Register Here link in the upper right-hand corner of our Home page. Once registered, click on the got film? icon (or the Filmmakers/Distributors link at the bottom of the page) to begin uploading your film(s). Complete instructions on how to post and sell your film using our Catalog Manager can be found here.

Signing up for a Filmmaker/Distributor account gives you access to our Catalog Manager. This tool allows you to modify your offering terms on-the-fly, including pricing, video quality (Standard Def vs. HD), download vs. streaming versions, purchase vs. rental options, rental windows (start/end times), access to bonus content and other special promotions, and much more. You can make changes to these settings at any time, and we encourage you to use our Activity Reports to help you do so.

Once the video has been purchased or rented, we manage the delivery (per the terms you define) and distribute the payment to you (less our delivery fee, credit card fees and network storage/delivery fees). You can Log In at any time to upload new videos, change pricing, add or remove purchase/rental options or view reports about consumer activity related to your film(s).

Are there any restrictions?  - Return to top

You cannot use IndiePlaya to distribute pornography, films for which you do not have applicable distribution rights, or films that violate any laws in any territory in which you seek to distribute your content. Your content must be a professionally created feature film (with a run time of 40 minutes or longer) or short (with a run time of not less than 5 minutes); we do not accept user-generated "home video" type content not intended for commercial exploitation.

Although you can opt out of distribution on our platform at any time and for any reason, there is one restriction that we enforce: if a consumer has purchased or rented your film prior to the time you seek to opt out, you must allow that individual complete the terms of that purchase or rental. If you disable your film, we will immediately prevent others from being able to purchase or rent it, but will fulfill any outstanding purchases or rentals made prior to that time (e.g., if there is an active rental outstanding, the consumer will be allowed to view that rental until the time previously set by you expires).

How do I get paid and how long does it take?  - Return to top

All transactions are subject to a 60-day hold period. This is to eliminate the risk associated with fraudulent credit card transactions, charge-backs, and the like. We will send electronic payment to you every 30 days for unpaid transactions that are not in the hold period less our itemized transaction fees.

Is there a minimum price I must charge for my films?  - Return to top

At a minimum, you must charge the same amount we charge you. It is important to keep in mind that there are a number of alternatives to simply offering your film for less. Through a combination of value-adds and our marketing metrics, we can help you set the best price for your film and help you find consumers who value your film. After all, in a "race to the bottom," everyone loses.

Is there a maximum price I can charge for my films?  - Return to top

As a practical matter, every film has its maximum price, beyond which people simply won't pay to watch it. Traditionally, consumers have been willing to pay a premium for the ability to view content early in its life cycle and progressively less the longer a film has been available. Our marketing tools will help you find the optimal price point for your film at each stage of its life cycle. Technically speaking, however, there is no limit to the price you can charge.

Keep some things in mind as you set the price: First and foremost, remember to provide value to your audience. Our platform enables this by allowing you to offer "add-ons" (e.g., bonus content) for your film. You have control over the length of the rental, whether users can download your film (as opposed to a streaming-only option), the film quality (e.g., Standard Def vs. HD), and whether there is bonus content. You can provide extra value by adding new bonus content periodically. These are just some of the factors that may justify a premium price for a portion of your audience. Our metrics can help you determine what people want, giving your audience a significant voice in helping determine what you should be charging them.

Why is all of this flexibility important?  - Return to top

Because your audience and your films are unique. Some filmmakers are able to create a series of films that appeal to an audience that will tolerate a higher price if you give them appropriate value. Some people in your audience will be more price-conscious. Some people will pay more for High Def content, others won't. Some people will stand in line to watch a film on the day it hits the theatres, while others can wait years for it to make its way to basic cable. If you want to reach ALL of these folks, you need to customize your offerings to suit them. We not only help you find them, but enable you to make multiple offerings that appeal to the widest audience possible for your film.

How big does my catalog need to be to get started?  - Return to top

One film. That's it. If you make a single film that comports with our minimal requirements, you can use our site to distribute it. Our goal is to enable the films you upload to IndiePlaya to do better than those with any other form of distribution you might use. We want you to come back again and again - to tell your friends, your neighbors... heck, even the people you DON'T like (we won't judge you!).

What will my terms look like if I sign up with you?  - Return to top

Please see our ">Terms and Conditions. You can use IndiePlaya for as long as you want, and we don't require any exclusive or irrevocable rights. You can disable our ability to sell or rent more content at any time and we will comply. We won't call you and complain. You won't wake up with a horse head at the foot of your bed because of us. (No animals were harmed in the making of our company.)

We do have one caveat: Once someone has purchased or rented a film from you, our system allows them to watch it for as long as you licensed it to them. If they purchased the film, that means they can watch it forever. If they rented it, they can finish out the terms of the rental agreement.

Are you nuts? Nobody in the entertainment industry is doing this.  - Return to top

No, we're not crazy. We just cracked the DIY code and found a way for all content providers to avoid ever having their films backlisted again... and make some coin in the process. It's unfathomable to us why, in today's day and age, so many in the industry insist on perpetuating outdated business pricing and licensing models. When future filmmakers ask why IndiePlaya was so successful, the answer will be that we helped filmmakers become successful themselves.

Support and Help

All I have is a DVD of my film. How can I upload it?  - Return to top

There are many commercial and free tools that can help you convert your film into a format that is compatible with our service. We accept the MPEG-4/H.264 (often just called H.264) file format as our standard file format and recommend that streaming files be encoded at a bitrate between 1 and 3 Kilobits per second.

If you need some help finding or using such a tool, our engineering tool has assembled a step-by-step document that describes how to convert a DVD into an h.264 file using a free tool available for both the Mac OS and Windows. Transcoding a film from a DVD into an h.264 file

What do I need to do to get started?  - Return to top

Our engineering team has assembled a step-by-step document that describes both the MINIMUM required steps to upload a film as well as a few extra steps that you may want to consider doing anyway. Posting and Selling a Film Using the IndiePlaya Catalog Manager

Where can I go for more technical information  - Return to top

For now, we keep a public file repository available to our users for technical documents. Over time, new documents will appear at this location as they become available. Technical Documentation

How long does it take to add new content?  - Return to top

Our easy-to-use Catalog Manager allows you to manage your entire catalog, modify all offerings, and review numerous Activity Reports. With this tool, it only takes a few minutes to input your data. The longest part of the process is the time it takes to upload your video to our server. This time will vary depending on the speed of your Internet connection, but using a small office line connection, this speed could be comparable to the time it takes to actually watch your movie (1-3 hours). Faster network connections will be even faster. After your video is uploaded to our servers, you can immediately offer it for sale or rental.

We reserve the right to scan for viruses and replicate the files on our servers for backup and disaster recovery... but this doesn't add any time to the process. This background task allows us to ensure that your film is properly scanned, cataloged, indexed and retained, so that you can be confident your film will be delivered to your audience 24/7/365.25&tm;

If you need additional help, our filmmaker support team will be happy to help you get up and running.

How long does it take to remove my content from IndiePlaya?  - Return to top

You can use the Catalog Manager to disable any offering at any time, instantaneously. This will remove all offerings associated with your content across our platform, with the one caveat that removing content from the Catalog Manager does not prevent viewing by consumers who have already purchased or rented your video. In the event that we receive a takedown notice from someone claiming that we are illegally distributing a piece of content, we will respond in accordance with our " target="_new">Terms of Service and as required by law.

How long does it take for my changes to take effect?  - Return to top

If you add an additional license term, change a price, update a cast bio or any other item that doesn't result in a file upload, the change is instantaneous.

Where can I go for further help?  - Return to top

Our Filmmaker Support team is available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) by sending an email to If there is a problem with the site, you can alert our network operations center by sending an email to:

Service Features

How do you protect against piracy?  - Return to top

We take the theft of intellectual property seriously. Our terms and conditions have specific provisions against piracy. Although there is no system on earth that has the capacity to provide 100% reliability against piracy, we are committed to staying at the forefront of anti-piracy to the extent that such measures will not alienate your consumers or cause undue technical hardship for enforcement.

There are two ways that piracy can impact you.

The first is when someone uploads pirated content to our site and claims all of the associated rights to it. The second is when someone attempts to exceed their licensed rights from content they purchased or rented from you through our service. This is analogous to a user sharing a DVD image with their friends.

We take piracy very seriously, and require anyone uploading content to our system to explicitly agree to the terms and conditions set forth in our Terms of Service. All transactions are held for 60 days before revenue is released to anyone. This gives a legitimate owner time to find a pirate and stop us before they can make a dash with your cash. We also will comply promptly with any facially proper takedown notice sent to us. In the event that a court of competent jurisdiction determines that a company has fraudulently distributed content through our site, we will work with the rightful owner of the distribution rights to provide as little interruption as possible to our end users who may also have been victimized by the defrauding party.

On the consumer side, all streaming content is delivered via an encrypted channel to a signed player that will not allow content to be saved on the local user's machine. This prevents the practice of "stream-ripping," and provides an additional layer of protection against piracy.

Do you support rentals?  - Return to top

Yes. Rentals can be streamed.

Do you support download and play?  - Return to top

Yes. Currently the "download option" allows a user to download a non-DRM version of your file.

Do you support multiple language formats and Closed Captioning?  - Return to top

Yes. Using our technology, you can distribute versions of your film in any language in native, dubbed or subtitled formats for an arbitrary number of language formats. Additionally, we support subtitle distribution in the same language to consumers, which emulates the experience of closed-captioning. We also have a proprietary algorithm that matches a user's language and preference for closed-captioning with the various versions of the file that are available in order to give them the highest resolution version that is in their format of choice. This approach works well not only for streaming content, but also downloads as well.

My video has been uploaded, how can I "un-publish" it?  - Return to top

You can make your video "unavailable for new sales" by disabling it in the Catalog Manager application. This change is immediately synchronized to our system. You cannot, however, disable a consumer's ability to watch content that they have already legitimately purchased.

Can we protect against viruses and other malware?  - Return to top

Yes. As a video is uploaded, we send it through a series of checks and processes that scan your video, trailer and movie poster for viruses, and store them in our highly available storage area network.

Do you support High Definition (HD) video?  - Return to top

Yes. We accept H.264 content for streaming and download of full HD (1080p) video. H.264 has the advantage of requiring a much smaller file size, and as such is very well suited to HD Internet video delivery. Of course, HD files can be much larger than Standard Definition (SD) files, and therefore take longer to upload and are more expensive to deliver. But we love the HD experience and think that your audience will too.

Moreover, you no longer have to make a choice between HD and SD video. You can now distribute both. By using our platform, you can allow users to purchase HD if they want it, and for the more cost-sensitive among your audience, you can offer an SD version.

How do you handle trailers and previews?  - Return to top

A trailer is a video that is separately edited and uploaded from your video file, while a preview is a snapshot (usually less than 10 minutes) of the video you have uploaded. You can choose to use either kind of video to promote your film. When you upload your main film, you have the option of uploading trailers or (if you have no trailer) you may identify a preview length within your film. This selection is used for promotional purposes on our site, such as our main page "filmstrip player." Trailers can also be uploaded in multiple languages to reach multiple audiences. We use our same proprietary language-matching technology to give consumers the trailer that is the best language match for them.

All of these options are confusing. How can I get help?  - Return to top

Our Filmmaker Support team can be reached at

Marketing Content

What marketing tools are available to help me promote my film?  - Return to top

The IndiePlaya platform has a few different approaches for you to market your film efficiently and effectively. Most fundamentally, your content is indexed and optimized for search and browse capability on our site and exposed in our "Recently Added" section. We also give you the following functionality:
  • Using "Community" functions such as our rich social networking integration, tagging and ratings, we expose your content to users through their community connections. We have a very powerful "Collective Intelligence" engine that distills the information users provide directly and indirectly about content to allow that content to be segmented to users most likely to consume it.
  • We give you more data about your film than you have ever seen before. Most companies you have worked with don't give filmmakers much more than 'units sold', but we will give you data about your audience and you can use that to see how well your film does across various measurements across different groups.
  • We also give you an aggregate view of global data. You won't just see your film but you see an entire world of data about films that are similar to yours. This means that you can see what marketing and offerings have worked for others and emulate those successes... and avoid making costly mistakes.
  • We are the only distribution platform that gives you the option of creating and modifying multiple offerings (for your film on-the-fly across a whole host of criteria, including pricing, video quality (SD vs. HD), download vs. streaming, purchase), flexible pricing and viewer terms. We also provide bundling and upsells that give you the ability to reach existing consumers of your content in order to get repeat business.

How can I use these tools to reach broader audiences?  - Return to top

Once registered as a content provider on our site, you can use our various Activity Reports to determine where you should be spending your marketing efforts, such as what Google AdWords to buy. Also, having the ability to continue to generate buzz in our community through email-a-link and tagging will allow people that have never heard of your work to be directed to you in searches on our site. Most importantly, you can look at the anonymized information about films similar to yours to learn what they did that was successful and who they were successful in reaching. If, for example, you didn't know that films like yours were particularly well received by 80-year-old males in Sweden, perhaps you should try creating a small ad in Svensk and seeing how that works out?

How can I use these tools to help fund new projects?  - Return to top

If you have access to real numbers that substantiate why you think your film may be a breakout success, you should have an easier time getting the funding needed to get your film in the can. And, if one of your films is a commercial success, investment in your next film will be that much easier, especially when circling back with old investors. The funny thing about investors is that they tend to return your phone calls when you've made money for them.

How can I use these tools to generate the most income for my film?  - Return to top

Generating maximum income has two essential components:
  1. Reaching and engaging with the largest audience possible for your particular film. More people visiting and actively engaging with your content means more potential conversions (sales and rentals), which, in turn, means more income for you. Please see the section above titled "How will you help me promote my video?"
  2. Optimizing your offering terms, such as price, video resolution quality, sale vs. rental, etc. Raising awareness about your film is irrelevant if, for example, it's overpriced for your target audience. But by the same token, you can't afford to charge too little either, or you won't be in this business for very long.

We present you with information to help you make smart decisions about pricing and other offering terms. Our platform is designed to help you reach the largest possible audience for your film. Our system helps you determine the optimum price for your film without sacrificing audience size or wasting ad dollars needlessly.