A UK film-making team at Molehill Productionshas made a feature film available as a pay-what-you-likeoffering online, in what they say is a world first.
Guy Rowland posted his film, Sam Jackson's Secret Video Diary, up for download starting Dec 28. Viewers can choose to pay as much or as little as they like for the DivX-format video file (without digital rights management encoding). Payments are made via PayPal.
The move follows band Radiohead's scheme for their album In Rainbows last year, reportedlyaveraging about $6 per download.
In comparison, although only a third of people downloadingRowland's film have paid for it,after seven days the averagepricepaidis aroundf$10 per download.
Rowland is optimistic about the scheme. 'These are obviously very early days but if these figures are sustained, we may have stumbled across something that actually has the potential to revolutionise independent film distribution,' he said.
The film, which premiered at Raindance in 2005,takes the form of a fictional documentary about the search for a missing person. The actress who playsSam Jackson in the fragments of video diary she left behind, Posy Miller, died of leukemia in 2002, before the script was written. Rowland, who had been following Miller for a TV dramacame up with the concept as a tribute to her. Twenty per cent of the film's income is going to charity, split between Leukaemia Research and Missing People.
Users can alsodownload a feature-length documentary about Miller and the making of the film.
The film is available for download at samjacksonmovie.co.uk.