How it works

Basically DocsOnline facilitates the direct transfer of payment between documentary-makers and their audience. Each second you?re watching one of our films 50% of our income is paid directly to the author or copyright holder. The other 50% is used to organize and facilitate our website. Any further profits are invested in the production of new independent documentaries.

Some films are free of charge because they are offered publicly by other websites. We have visually incorporated these films or programs on DocsOnline because we believe they are of great interest and our audience should be informed of their free existence elsewhere on the internet. 

A central focus of DocsOnline is to organize our ever-expanding collection in such a way that you'll find exactly what you're looking for in a documentary. We consider this as a challenge and feedback is very welcome.

Submit a film

Documentary filmmakers are encouraged to submit their films. If you are the copyright holder or the authorized sales agent of a quality documentary, submit it to us. If we like it, we'll put it up in all appropriate sections of our website and pay you royalties.


All submitted films must be of technical and cinematic quality. For screening purposes we accept DVD and VHS- tapes, but once selected we will need a Digital Betacam copy (pal) for encoding.

The DocsOnline Foundation applies the following guidelines in making its selections. Any variations of the rules or guidelines are at the sole discretion of the Foundation:

  • Cinematic quality, style & form
  • Uniqueness of vision & original approach
  • Human & cultural Interest
  • Historic & political interest
  • The natural world & scientific interest
  • Other applicable and/or relevant subject matter

We have no production year cut off. All films must be in English or with English subtitles. Although exceptions are made, shipping and handling costs to the DocsOnline office will be covered by the entrant.

If you have any questions, please send us an e-mail or give us a call. We will respond within two business days. You can send tapes to our contact address.


The DocsOnline Foundation will offer your documentary in all appropriate sections of At the end of each quarter, we will send you 50% of the gross receipts earned by your documentary. We don't ask for exclusivity, so you are also free to exhibit your film elsewhere. In the event a better deal comes along, you can either terminate the contract or ask us to take your documentary offline temporarily.

Contract Term

Although you are free to terminate the contract anytime or ask for a time-out as many times you like, we are convinced that continuity will serve your interests in the long term. It is our aim for your documentary to become a presence on the internet, thereby maximizing its profit potential. Extensive market research has shown that a substantial percentage of the general public is very much interested in documentaries. Despite this interest, many people feel that movie theaters are too inhibiting, video stores offer too limited a range, and finding documentaries on a television schedule is a hassle. As DocsOnline offers an ever-expanding catalogue of quality documentaries for on-demand viewing, the viewing public will come to regard our Web site as a valuable resource.


We will host your documentary on our servers. Encoding, uploading, hosting and targeting your documentary to a paying audience are services that we will provide at no additional charge.

Audience Potential

By hosting your documentary with us, you will be exposing your work to a potential market of approximately 200 million broadband viewers. We anticipate the broadband market will continue to grow at a rate of at least 98% per year over the next five years. In the process, the DocsOnline Foundation will be working to increase the traffic on your documentary. It is our business to promote your film to the audience interested in the subject it deals with. The terms set forth in the distribution agreement prevail over this page.

About VOD rights

Do you know how to deal with new ways of distribution? Do you know your rights? Below we've have provided some practical information on VOD rights and definitions.

Today's online distribution models

Video-on-Demand (VOD)

Video-on- Demand is a general term used for a technique that allows users to select and playback video content over a network including, but not necessarily limited, to the internet. The VOD concept is in line with the rental concept as the user does not receive a permanent copy of the title. Playback of the title may be limited by a periodical subscription fee, pay-per-view, pay-per-minute or other restrictions

Electronic Sell-Through

In the event of an Electronic Sell-Through (EST) model the user receives a permanent copy of the title allowing him unlimited playbacks. EST is in line with the sales concept (download-to-own).

Which rights do you need for VOD and EST?

Online distribution of audiovisual works is a new and independent exploitation method. Normal home video rights, broadcasting rights and/or theatrical rights are not sufficient to license the title to online distributors.

So you are allowed to enter into an agreement with an online distributor if:

  • You are the original copyright holder of a title (author/producer) and have not sold the VOD rights to anyone else exclusively for an appropriate fee.
  • You have either bought the VOD rights specifically for an appropriate fee from the original copyright holder or you are licensed to exploit the VOD rights for an appropriate fee. If you've any further questions, we can recommend you a media lawyer.
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