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  1. #1
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    Can my 3D animations make a successful site?

    Hi all.

    As a hobby I make short animated 3D films. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but I think they are quite good. The basic formula is a short (30s to 90s) film with several characters, voice acting and the goal of getting a laugh out of the viewer. At the moment it takes me about 2 weeks of my spare time to produce a short using existing characters, and longer when I need to create a new set of characters.

    I had originally planned to just make them available without expecting anything in return (e.g. giving them away on youtube), but it occurred to me that I could still give them away for free, but perhaps make a little money through advertising.

    My question to you all is this: is it possible that I could host multiple ~10mb films on a site, and cover the hosting costs and make a little profit just through advertising? A long way off in the future I could see merchandise (based on the characters) becoming the main source of income for the site, but of course that would require a significant level of success, and in the mean time I would still need to cover the hosting costs.

    Another option would be to use a third party like youtube (although I can't bear to see my films mangled by there miserly codec) to provide the hosting, and then try and tempt people back to my site. The problem then would be far fewer people would come to my site.

    So what do you think? Should I just do it for the love and give them away, or is there a way I could a make little money at the same time?

    Cheers.
    Last edited by TheDr; Sep 12, 2006 at 03:46.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru kish's Avatar
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    If I were you I'd get some real life opinions on the vids first, to get a feel of what the rest of us think of them.

    Post in the Reviews & Critiques section.

    If you get really positive feedback then that may be indication that you're on to a winner :-)
    Fast Fwd Multimedia
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  3. #3
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    Hi Kish, as your post implies the success or failure depends heavily on the quality of my short films, but what I'm after is feedback of a more generic sort: can a site that dishs out 10mb files to every visitor support itself on advertising revenue alone? If not then no matter how hard I work to polish my films I'll lose out in the end.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru kish's Avatar
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    Chicken and Egg.

    Yes it can support itself through ad revenue, but only if the content is good enough to keep visitors coming back and clicking on ur ads.
    Fast Fwd Multimedia
    Web, IT & Cloud Computing Consultancy
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict avstu's Avatar
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    Hey mate.

    Ive always been told the website is like a fish pond, 'its better to be one big fish in a small pond instead of being a little fish in a big pond' And if your mini clips are more individual and differnet to others on the net im sure they will be a success.

    So to answer your question, if your clips/films are good and people like them then of course make a website and yes advertising costs could cover your hosting costs. But it will take some time before they do i would imagine as you would have to advertise your own work first.

  6. #6
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    in one sense it does not matter what you are hosting as it is always content, in one form or another, that makes or breaks a site. If your content is cool, unique or special in some way (for you the content is clips) then it may be possible to generate revenue from ads.

    More visitors = more potential revenue.

    However, the profits can get eaten up by bandwidth costs so need to be careful.

  7. #7
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    Hi Dr

    How are you ?

    Like the others have said above it is chicken and egg situation. If you can get them coming back for more then and can get them to click on the adds then you can make some money. Obviously the concern is that it will get eaten up on the bandwith.

    At some point you are probably going to have to perform some sort of calculation ( which is fairyl obvious, but I'll spell it out anyway)

    What is the cost per download - 10MB divided by your monthly bandwidth * the cost of your hosting charge. So if 5GB is costing 40 on a good host, you are looking at roughly 8p a download.
    The number you expect to be downloaded per month ( you may have a really good indication already from the people who are visiting your site right now)

    The above two will obviously tell you how much its going to cost you.

    Now you need to calculate how much you can make of advertising -

    Obviously this will depend on the depend on the type of visitors coming to your site - are they the kind the advertisers want to spend big bucks on - what proportion of them do you think will click on advert. Personally, I'd just start with google adsense. Really easy to set up and great way to test the waters.

    Guestimating, I would say 10% of the visitors will click on ads. That means if on average each visitor downloads one movie and you have 500 visitors and each click on adsense generates you 1 a month you should make about 50 a month, which should cover your hosting money, and buy you 1 drink in London and about 5 anywhere else in the world. But obviously that depend on if you can get 500 visitors a month ( but if you can't then simply get a smaller bandwidth).

    In any case, even if the calculations are way off, I think you should give it a go. The financial risk involved is almost non-existent. Just go with a hosting partner that doesn't bind you into a 12 month contract, if it works, that's great ( fingers crossed and I am sure it will - if anything it will give you exposure to potential clients) . And if it doesn't - well heh you lost 40.

    Good luck with it !

  8. #8
    Chillin like a Villain DaStuff's Avatar
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    I don't remember the name (not really into the video arena) but there is a you tube like site that I think splits the revenue it makes off your video with you. You could also link to them and create a site that goes into the background of each video for a little more revenue... This may be a nice option b/c they'll deal with hosting costs while splitting the profit with you...

    Just an idea, oh and someone else will post what the name of the other site is... Can't remember atm
    • Follow the dancing banana

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the replies guys, you've convinced me to go ahead with it.

    I have three shorts ready to go that I can launch the site with, which I'll do in the next week or so (my site needs a little polish). To test the waters I'll just go with adsense initially, and see what happens.

    DaStuff: I think the site you referred to is http://stage6.divx.com/. Right now it seems that a publisher (e.g. myself) can set a fee to watch a video, but they (divx) keep any advertising revenue. Since I don't want to set a fee I'll have to pass on their buisness model at this stage.

    Anyway I'll bump this thread once I've launched so you guys can have a look once everything is set up. Thanks again for the advice.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Member Terrasynth's Avatar
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    Have you considered trying to make your videos get viral marketing by hosting them using a system like YouTube? You can embed YouTube videos into a website that has adsense and banners on it. You might also consider having a blogging system and a "how I made these" section where people can learn more about your workflow and have incentive to return to the site.

    The primary concern I have is that what you've basically said is that you want to get paid for people to look at your portfolio. Unless you consider other options (similar to what I've mentioned) I don't think you'll be receiving enough traffic to cover hosting costs -- and if you are getting the traffic it will only kill your bandwidth. Why do you think those watching the videos would be inclined to click on ads? Will the ads target content similar to your videos?
    Web Designers + Terrasynth 3D = Amazing Websites

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    Personally I would not rely on advertsing at all. Only provide as much content at any one time that you know you can afford to host, and change the available movies weekly or monthly as an incentive to keep people coming back.

    If you make enough ad revenue to cover your hosting costs you could look at increasing what you offer at any one time.

    And there's always the possibility of picking up some paid work through the site as well... well maybe but who knows!

  12. #12
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    Hi Terrasynth, you're right that just serving up the videos was never going to work.

    I'm using wordpress as a CMS. In the sites current form I publish a news or blog post to the front page, and have the animation tied into the subject of the post. Sort of like a web comic except with video files. The content of the news posts and the animations are things people are advertising through adsense, so that will hopefully lead some of my visitors to click my ads.

    Assuming my content is up to scratch the achilles heel is still bandwidth, however I'd rather not relinquish control over my content initially. If the hosting fees get too heavy, or I think some viral marketing is needed I'll try youtube or something similar.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Member Terrasynth's Avatar
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    Well, good luck in what you do. Make sure to keep track of your site hits and conversion, do some testing and etc. If you can pump out continous content ala web comic, that would be awesome and would generate consistent interest in the site. Anthology or episodic storylines could be interesting.
    Web Designers + Terrasynth 3D = Amazing Websites


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