Supported by a conglomerate of file-sharing sites and applications, the VODO project offers a novel distribution platform for indie filmmakers. The model has already proven itself as all major releases have been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of users. However, to really tap into the core of peer-to-peer distribution, the focus will now shift to peer-to-peer promotion.
In an attempt to connect filmmakers with the distribution power of the file-sharing community, Steal This Film director Jamie King launched VODO last year. The project taps into this powerful capability to promote works of independent filmmakers.
VODO, short for voluntary donation, has been a great success thus far. With support from several torrent sites including EZTV, The Pirate Bay and isoHunt, all of VODO’s major releases have been downloaded several hundred thousand times. In addition, downloaders have donated tens of thousands of dollars to the filmmakers.
Thus far, most of the buzz has been created by a small coalition of file-sharing sites. But with the the release of VODO 2.1 which rolled out this week, the founders of the project hope to get the average peer more engaged in promoting VODO films. With this strategy the promotional power should shift towards a swarm of real people and influencers, instead of the large sites.
The site added the VO.DO domain to the existing VODO.net one this week and introduced several new features at the same time. One of the new features is meant to increase user engagement. To motivate the public to share and promote films that are released through VODO, the project has introduced a reward system.
“We’ve created an internal currency, the Do, with which we’ll reward Influencers,” VODO founder Jamie King explains. “Every time someone downloads a release because of you, visits an artist’s VODO page, signs up or sponsors an artist, you’ll receive a few Do.”
VODO users who have an account can link to films on their blogs, or post download links on Facebook and Twitter. The VODO site then keeps track of all incoming links and how many people sign up and donate through their influence.
“There are two ways to look at Do: as a reputation currency that allows people to compare how much value they have produced for VODO creators; and as an exchange currency that has actual value in the world. In time, you’ll be able to trade Do for all sorts of offers, prizes and merchandise,” King says.
Of course, a lot of individuals have already helped to promote VODO releases such as Pioneer One and The Yes Men Fix The World. But through the new features the VODO team wants to reward those people and emphasize that the real power of peer-to-peer promotion lies with the people.
Another major change in VODO 2.1 aside from Do is the open submission process. Previously, VODO would carefully select which films were allowed to be distributed via the site, but as of now submissions are open. Everyone who wants to share video content can create a publisher account, connect with fans, and set up sponsorship incentives.
Every month VODO will continue to select one film that will be promoted and featured by the leading file-sharing sites and applications. Today, VODO begins promoting another high-quality film: Person Of Interest. As with all VODO releases it can be downloaded via BitTorrent for free.
Check it out to see what the new VODO is all about.