The following press release comes to us from California Newsreel. We hope that you will all read this important study, and be engaged in the important conversations around this issue that will take place in the coming months.


The slow but inevitable transition from DVD to internet delivery of media content is confronting all independent producers, distributors and their funders with complex, long-range technical and strategic decisions, at a time when digital delivery is still in its infancy, too little research exists and no overwhelming trends have emerged. We are all under pressure from start-up internet content aggregators and distributors to entrust our work to their new, untried ventures.

Before moving forward, a group of four distributors with more than 100 years experience distributing independent work, namely Bullfrog Films, California Newsreel, First Run/Icarus Films and Women Make Movies, decided to commission a survey of the largest educational and non-theatrical media users in the country. We were particularly interested in determining the actual extent and methods of digital media use today and in learning these institutions’ plans, timetables and licensing preferences as they expand digital delivery in the future. This survey, we hoped, would provide us and others in the field with a sound basis for making decisions about what technical and licensing options would best serve our films and their audiences.

We are happy to announce that this survey is now complete and the results are posted in easily accessible form on the home page of the web-site Just below the link to the survey results themselves, we encourage you to visit a second link entitled “Conclusions and Recommendations for Independent Producers, Independent Distributors and Funders.” This short document condenses into eleven points the conclusions and recommendations we have drawn from the survey. We have now commissioned a second stage of the study which will explore existing models and the many alternative options, now available or in development, for the remote delivery of digital content.

Perhaps the most important and conclusive result to emerge from the whole survey is that we have time to do the research necessary to decide on the particular model or models which will be most appropriate for our content and audiences. At present we are asked to choose among the untested and imposed technologies of venture capitalists with no experience or relationships with our actual community of film users. We believe that by sharing information such as this survey, pooling our broad collective experience, exchanging ideas and working together, independent producers, distributors and funders can design our own alternative digital delivery protocol.

Thus we hope our conclusions and recommendations do not mark an end but the beginning of a conversation about how we – the independent media community – can play a more effective and autonomous role in defining the delivery of independent content in the digital future. We invite you to share your our conclusions and recommendations by contacting us at


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