CREATE, DISTRIBUTE, MONETIZE. 90210 Network 4.7.2022 V3


As a creator, your business model is to CREATE, DISTRIBUTE, MONETIZE. A key component for this model is finding the right target audience for your content.  Most filmmakers and content creators may consider this task for the marketing team, or maybe during Post-production.  Ehh- wrong!  I learned this lesson the hard and expensive way over a decade ago.  


I started producing for the “small” screen in 2010.  Working very independently, as a creator and producer.  I had every intention of creating a “web” series for YouTube, where I thought I could “find my target audience”.  Then pitching to an OTT Network (aka Over The Top Networks, now called Streaming Platforms) for a bigger screen and eventually bigger audience after it gained some momentum.


Unless you were watching Netflix at a savvy tech guy’s home, connected by way of a massive collection of cables onto his 72 inch monitor, platforms were still considered “small screen”.  Streaming Platforms gained momentum and vast audiences during the “Wild West of streaming as it was obvious people craved diverse entertainment via cell phones and tablets. Today the landscape to watch content has advanced tremendously and needless to say, distribution for us content creators, writers and producers have many more outlets than we could have imagined before. 


YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, HBO, Showtime, ABC, NBC, CBS, Netflix, Hulu and Tubi create a short list of the highest profile content distributors. Each network and streaming platform are competing for audiences’ attention worldwide.  Content will always be king.  If you have a film or series, where would it land?  


In the development of my “web series” over a decade ago, my executive team, a young group of 4 rookie producers, had no clue how to find our target audience.  We went back and forth several times over months.  Our effort was moot. Nothing.  


I took it upon myself to study other series.  My “go to” channel has always been HBO.  I enjoy complex characters, stories with multiple layers, unpredictable plots, and cinematography with rich detail.  Perhaps the way to find the right audience for your content lies in finding the right distribution platform with the built in target audience?  In my day, YouTube had everything.  It still does, however, over time, these streaming platforms have been able to curate their content for specific demographics and develop technology to satisfy audiences’ developing content palette.  In my own quest to understand marketing and the “how to” of gaining an audience, my tasks are: 


  1. Look for comparative projects (film/series)?  
  2. Research the creator and their work.
  3. Where can you find more of their work? Ex: Vimeo or YouTube then Showtime, HBO?
  4. Who or what is their biggest influence(s)?  
  5. What does their artistic voice echo?
  6. What are the genre(s) on any given network or platform?  
  7. Describe your own character work in a short summary.
  8. Ask yourself, which known actor would fit those characters?
  9. Of course, research the producers and their work.


The answers to many of these questions will lead you in the right direction for distribution.  It identifies the color palette and emotional sense of your work, possibly leading you to the best target audience.  Helping you to narrow down the growing number of streaming platforms gives you an edge and excellent starting point in an approach to licensing your project. 


Again, if your goal is to create, distribute and monetize, then spend the time researching the comparable content in the development stage of your project for the sake of longevity.