Help Scout + VHX Lovefest

We use (and love) Help Scout to handle our customer support. They came by our office in Dumbo a couple weeks ago and shot this video of Steve, Michael and Jamie explaining how wonderful we think they are. Replete with glamorshots of our neon signage.

VHX Powers CLOSED CURTAIN for Free in Iran

In 2010, filmmaker Jafar Panahi was convicted of “propaganda against the state” by the Iranian government and banned from filmmaking and other artistic pursuits for 20 years. He defied the ban. The product of his defiance: His new feature, Closed Curtain.

Considering the great risk Pahani is taking to make and share this work, Variance Films tapped us to help ensure that the world can really see it. As of this week, in concert with its North American limited theatrical release, it’s available for pre-order (expected in January 2015), and freely downloadable now for anyone with an Internet connection in Iran.

This past September, Drafthouse Films had a similar goal — with similar political sensitivities — in distributing The Act of Killing. In Indonesia, the government approves all theatrically screened films, so the distributors used VHX to get this chilling and inventive documentary to the people of Indonesia. 26,800 watched it.

With the right tools and technology, we can help empower artists to make distribution strategies that heighten the impact of their work. Reaching people worldwide — or reaching audiences that may not normally have access to their work — is easier now than it has ever been thanks to Internet distribution. It’s inspiring to see films like Closed Curtain taking advantage in a thoughtful way.

Check out the Closed Curtain website to share a personal message of support for Jafar and for other artists around the world who are denied the freedom of expression, and shout it out on Twitter with #celebratenotcensor.


VHX WEBSITE THEMES IN ACTION: “BRIDGETOWN”

Want to sell video from your own website but you don’t have a website yet? We’ve got you covered (for free). Our website theme editor has a pile of super-customizable themes, all designed specifically for selling premium video. Look! Here’s one. It’s a theme called BRIDGETOWN. And here’s how a couple publishers have made it their own:
Highway has a rotating carousel of big film stills to grab your attention. Also a shout-out to their premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in the coveted “Panorama” category. And check out those social links up top - so easy for people to click Like. 

The Belief in the Other Man’s Wallet keeps it simple at first glance with some beautiful film art, and a chance to play the trailer or buy the film right away. Scroll down for more details, like a description of the doc and each esteemed participant interviewed for the project.

VHX WEBSITE THEMES IN ACTION: “BRIDGETOWN”

Want to sell video from your own website but you don’t have a website yet? We’ve got you covered (for free). Our website theme editor has a pile of super-customizable themes, all designed specifically for selling premium video. Look! Here’s one. It’s a theme called BRIDGETOWN. And here’s how a couple publishers have made it their own:

Highway has a rotating carousel of big film stills to grab your attention. Also a shout-out to their premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in the coveted “Panorama” category. And check out those social links up top - so easy for people to click Like. 

The Belief in the Other Man’s Wallet keeps it simple at first glance with some beautiful film art, and a chance to play the trailer or buy the film right away. Scroll down for more details, like a description of the doc and each esteemed participant interviewed for the project.

Now on Pre-Order: First to Fall

Among the clips and films screening (and streaming!) at Kickstarter’s fourth annual Film Fest tonight, is a documentary feature called First to Fall, freshly available for pre-order at FirstToFall.vhx.tv.  

Cinematographer Rachel Beth Anderson is no stranger to filming conflict zones including Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, South Sudan, and Nepal. Her directorial debut was born of her seven-month journey spanning the Libyan war, and follows two young men as they leave peaceful Canada and join the Libyan anti-Gaddafi rebellion in 2011. Hats off to the First to Fall team for rocking VHX to make a rad website, offer special bonus features, and champion accessibility by making it available in at least six different languages.

Recap: Catch a clip via the Film Fest 2014 starting tonight, or pre-order the whole doc here.

We’re working with our friends at Kickstarter to make Film Fest 2014 an experience you can enjoy from wherever you are, all summer long. This year’s Film Fest features excerpts from animations, short films, documentaries, and more, all funded on Kickstarter. If you can’t make it to a screening in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, or London, you can still watch the entire program online, with streaming powered by VHX. 


New Feature: One-click Watch in Gmail

Gmail users rejoice! You can access your VHX purchases with just one click.
When you buy your favorite film on a VHX-powered website, a confirmation will arrive in your Gmail inbox with a handy dandy “Watch Now” button. Click it to launch the movie right away!

New Feature: One-click Watch in Gmail

Gmail users rejoice! You can access your VHX purchases with just one click.

When you buy your favorite film on a VHX-powered website, a confirmation will arrive in your Gmail inbox with a handy dandy “Watch Now” button. Click it to launch the movie right away!

Please join us and send your thoughts to the FCC now. The deadline is this Friday, July 18. For more background on net neutrality, read this Atlantic article. Below is a letter sent to the FCC by our CEO.

Hi,

I’m the co-founder and chief executive of VHX, a small NYC-based startup that allows anyone to sell videos online. We enable individuals and small businesses to reach customers they couldn’t reach before, and provide them with a high-quality video streaming experience that’s on par with large, closed platforms like iTunes and Netflix.

Buffering and delivery speed are absolutely critical to any company working with online video. As a company, VHX will live and die based on the quality of our product and our video-watching experience. The success we’ve had to-date is entirely because we can compete solely on the basis of that product, in an open market, enabled by an open Internet. Our business, and the small busineses we support, would be gravely impacted by paid prioritization, technical discrimination and/or access fees.

The companies with which we compete – Apple, Amazon, Google, the cable companies themselves – can afford to pay for a “fast lane” or fight a vague “commercially reasonable” standard. We do not have that luxury. We do not have lawyers on staff, and we do not have the resources to negotiate individualized deals. If the rules around net neutrality are too soft, we would not be able to match our competitors experience, and we would not be able to survive.

Chairman Wheeler has been outspoken about his support for net neutrality and an open Internet, but the critical question now is about how it’s implemented. I cannot stress enough how much we need strict, simple, “bright-line” rules, which leave no room for exploitation and misinterpretation. Lawyers I trust have told me repeatedly that these kind of bright-line rules can only be enacted if broadband providers are reclassified as public utilities under Title II. Rules based on Section 706 leave room for the kind of challenges and uncertainty that stifle investment, create chilling effects for startups, and threaten innovation.

Thanks,
@jamiew

Survey Says…

Last month, our publishers received an email from us asking why they joined VHX. We wanted to hear first-hand how you’ve been using the platform so that we can keep making it better. With an open rate and answer rate that exceed industry standards, this survey proved that VHX publishers are rockstars. 

Our #1 goal in designing the survey was that it be quick to take. We got some amazing feedback on how well we did from the blog at ListenLoop. The author Rodrigo Fuentes mentions the key reason we placed the survey in an email: to reduce friction. By making it a one-click answer, we felt we would get a better overall response rate (which is true, as our response rate was ~16%.)

Mr. Fuentes makes one recommendation that is absolutely spot on. Our landing page was a fairly generic Thank You screen and didn’t incentivize additional, open-form feedback. For future surveys, we will definitely be adding a more prominent place for users to tell us what they really want us to know.

Did you take our survey? What did you like/dislike about it? 

Sugar-buzzed Dispatch from VHX HQ

We got to be part of a pretty major effort this weekend, helping the “Wish I Was Here” team with their online digital screening. And then Zach Braff sent us cupcakes. Win win.