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Phones Cards & Indie Film Marketing

Here is a gem of an idea that has great potential.  It's the pull system of capitalism at its best.  Here's how it works as it relates to film finance and Surfview Entertainment.

First make an assumption that there is an ever increasing number of people who are collecting phone cards, much like people collect baseball cards, stamps and other collectibles.  SEARS is really big in it. MONEYCARD magazine posts prices in its issues.

Next, assume that a good portion of phone card collectors find the entertainment business interesting and good for collector value.

Along comes Surfview Entertainment (tm) Phone Card Collector Series.

Producers posting their projects on the surfview.com site can elect to have a phone card produced for their project.  

Surfview Entertainment handles production and sales, creating no more than 5,000 cards of any one image. More than that reduces the "limited collection" value. Wholesalers buy in lot sizes of 100s.  Just 50 sales later and it's time to produce the next image for the series.

Producers can generate revenue if their cards are graphically interesting and become popular. While the profit may not be huge, it can help raise funds for letter of intent signing fees as well as other packaging expenses.

It is important to get an actor's head shot and permission to use it, in case you want to use it as part of the image for this purpose.

Phone cards are also a wonderful marketing tool.  People will toss your business card, but who's going to throw away free phone time?  The giver could even end up a hero; the card may even get the owner out of a jam, when they are at a pay phone with no change.  

When the time expires, if the card owner likes it, they can even recharge it with their credit card (another potential revenue generator, when thousands of cards are in circulation.)

Another cool aspect producers can leverage is canned messages.  When card users call to connect through the 1-800 service, before connecting, they can hear a short update of the project status done by the lead actor, producer or director.   If the caller is already an investor, that update of progress is a great touch. If they are still "kicking the tires", it can be another great impression of your organization.

Projects can have their own collector series, creating a new card as the project progresses .

Clever images with recognizable cast can tip the scales on whether the card is a collector item or remains just a great promotional marketing tool.

Well, that's it for now.  

This is a fascinating topic, for which I owe a lot of thanks to Jose Escamilla, a Surfview.com resident producer who taught me a lot about this.

I am currently persuing individual telcom and phone card manufacturer relationships.  You will see more about it here as things progress.  Keep checking back.

If you are a producer or a phone card wholesaler or collector, let me know what you think.

Thank you.

James E. Tessier

The Lobby

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Copyright © 1997  James E. Tessier. All Rights Reserved.