Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Choppertown Rides Facebook Video to Earn Multiple Revenue Streams (2 of 3)

We continue our Case Study of Choppertown, the indie documentary producer that evolved into a model mini-network for the Facebook Era.


Hybrid Revenue Streams

In 2016, Choppertown evolved into a Facebook Video channel.

The business model is now a hybrid operation that combines multiple revenue streams:

  • Sponsorship by 3rd parties of  Choppertown’s FB platform and content
  • Branded activations
  • LIVE Facebook streams
  • A planned new premium SVOD service
  • Sales of owned and acquired productions via Direct-To-Own downloads (DTO) and DVD
  • Commissioned productions
  • Expanding IP ownership
  • International content development

Coffman also launched a boutique digital agency partnering with other media companies and prodco’s to plan and execute the “Choppertown treatment” for their brands.

ct data

A snapshot of Choppertown’s FB engagement

The Facebook ‘Channel’ Tail Wags the Dog of Production/Sales 

  • “Advertisers and brands began to contact us as if we were a mini-network, and they were asking to include sponsored content, including brand placement and editorial feature activations.”
  • “We realized that Choppertown had evolved into a legitimate ‘Facebook channel’ reaching millions of homes and a specific demo.”
  • By early-2016, Choppertown launched a CPM-based Facebook network sales effort targeting potential clients.
  • By mid-2016, activated clients have included Sailor Jerry, S&S Cycle, Smithsonian Channel, and Starz.

Brand Activation: Sailor Jerry Rum

  • An ‘activation’ is a paid campaign containing a combination of content produced BY a brand and/or content produced FOR a brand and released through social channels over a specified time period.
  • “An example is our recent work with Sailor Jerry Rum that followed several chopper builders on a ride across England and Wales.
  • “The activation was supported by brand-produced content posted to our channels as well as live programming featuring all the builders at various stages on the ride.
  • “Thus far the activated assets have achieved over 400,000 views on Facebook, with approx. 50,000 likes, 3,000 comments, and 6,000 shares.”


  • LIVE streaming on Facebook emerges as most cost-effective way to reach mass audience.
  • A typical 20-minute sponsored broadcast can reach 500-750,000+ and generate thousands of comments and shares.
  • Choppertown now has multiple Live sponsored broadcasts per week, reaching 5-10 million followers weekly.

Facebook Blasts Choppertown to a New Level
A Podcast Interview with Zack Coffman
(August 16, 2016)

Click here, or copy the following URL into your browser:


  • Choppertown expanded its global productions, content sourcing and brand partnerships.

SVOD: Subscription Service

  • Zack is planning a $9.99 / month subscription service
  • Subscribers will access 10 curated films / month on a rotating basis and have access to additional “club member” add-ons/incentives
  • Puts pressure on to produce and acquire more films
  • Waiting for test results in Fall 2016


  • Download-to-Own sales continue, though growth flat-lined in Q1 2016.
  • Increased Facebook advertising reinvigorated new customer acquisition for DTOs in Q2.


Vimeo: 3rd Party Funding of Productions

  • In a breakthrough, Vimeo is fully funding the 4-part Choppertown Nation series aimed at DTO, currently in pre-Production.
  • “Our friend [Scott Bedno, Voltage] told them about the size of our FB audience and Vimeo’s Sam Toles called with a nice offer.”
  • Release slated for spring 2017.
  • Vimeo has limited rights for its DTO and upcoming SVOD platform.
  • Other commissioned productions are in discussion.

Boutique Agency

  • The Choppertown team now create DTO/SVOD websites and managing digital social for clients/partners
  • Examples are OmniFilm (Ice Pilots) and Ian Cross’s Pilot/555 Productions, whose excellent PBS Globe Trekker series we covered in a unique Case Study.

Discovery’s Harley & the Davidsons

  • Choppertown collaborated on the promotion of Discovery’s chopper-themed three night event series.
  • Here is a snapshot of the campaign.

chopper discovery


Original Analysis for Documentary Producers & Executives


Opportunities, Success Factors & Deal Terms
for Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Vimeo and other OTT/VOD Platforms
From with
contributions from distributor Kinonation’s Roger Jackson
Read More Here.
Download Now: $39.95


Speaking Engagements