Gumroad, an online startup that helps filmmakers sell and stream their digital content, now allows creators to make their work available for rent. As of March 17, 28,000 videos will be available for users to stream for rent, including 2,000 full-length movies, for a lesser price than buying and downloading a large movie file.
Sellers get to decide the price of the rental fee, and customers get 30 days to view the film. Once the film is watched for the first time, viewers have 72 hours to watch the movie as many times as they want. They can also stream the rented video to a TV using the Gumroad app on their iOS or Android device. Gumroad takes a 5 percent commission and 25-cent charge for each rental, but hands the rest of the sale to the original filmmaker. Gumroad also automatically sends renters a discount coupon to lure them into buying the movie for keeps.
Gumroad is launching the new rentals feature with Appropriate Behavior. Desiree Akhavan, who co-created the web series The Slope, wrote, directed and stars in the movie, about a young bisexual Persian woman living in Brooklyn. The film premiered at Sundance last year.
Gumroad, a San Francisco-based startup that was founded in 2012, had its beginnings in the buying and selling of music and e-books. The new rentals service is Gumroad’s effort to work with and attract more filmmakers to its service.
However, rentals will likely stick to film-related content, and not extend to books or music files since most consumers are uninterested in streaming music for a limited period of time, especially since there are already so many other services that do that. Additionally, movies tend to be priced higher than music or books, so having access to a lower cost option for film is particularly beneficial to customers. Gumroad’s rental system is also more generous than iTunes, which only allows you to watch a movie file for 24 hours after the first viewing if you're in the U.S.