I’ve heard Kickstarting a home-video project referred to as, essentially, pre-ordering the Blu-ray or DVD. It is, and it isn’t.
For the fan or consumer, in the sense of the definition of “pre-ordering”, backing a Kickstarted Blu/DVD project certainly looks like that’s what you’re doing. You’re sending in money for the product in advance of its actual street date or release. Way way way in advance.
For the person producing the project, though, the math is a little different.
When you pre-order a Blu-ray, what I receive is a per-unit royalty. Without divulging the specific amount, I can tell you that the percent of the sales price that is the royalty amount is almost exactly flipped when you pledge to a Kickstarter. In other words – and this a for instance, and not the precise number – if the royalty amount going to the producer is 22% of the money you’ve spent on the Blu-ray, when you pledge to a campaign 78% of that amount goes toward the production of the project, with the remainder covering the cost of the Blu-ray itself, the padded mailer and getting the Blu-ray packed into it.
Also pre-order royalties don’t pay out until a couple months after the street date regardless of how far ahead of the actual release you’ve pre-ordered. The Kickstarted funds go to the person running the campaign 2 weeks after it ends.
Pledging to a Kickstarter may seem like you’re pre-ordering but, for those of us crowd-funding these projects, you are actually funding all the aspects of the production of the Blu-ray.