Flix Premiere bets big on streaming market for independent films

Flix Premiere, a streaming video on demand service for independent films, recently announced the creation of a $50 million fund to produce five to ten original films that will debut exclusively on the Flix Premiere online theater.

Until now, Flix has acquired films from major films festivals like Cannes, Sundance, and Toronto, providing them with a proper theatrical release (in their online screening room) and then making them available on demand. New site-exclusive movies are added to Flix Premiere ever 10 to 14 days.

Projects for the originals investment will be sourced from the major festivals but filmmakers can also submit directly to the Flix Premiere team.

For more on Flix Premiere and its significant originals investment, we spoke with CEO Martin Warner:

Found Remote: Why would creators want to work with Flix Premiere when they could work with Amazon, Netflix, or Vimeo?

Martin Warner: Flix Premiere focuses on a specific film industry segment. Movies by independent filmmakers with a budget of up to $12 to $15 million. Many of them are festival award winners but don’t have the same muscle as large studio productions. We call them hidden gems.  We offer a very different solution to our competitors – we are the Cinema meets the Distributor doing the exhibiting and marketing in house – we also offer interesting new services for our customers to share the excitement about a new movie such as Movie Gifting – where the customer can introduce our service by recommending a movie and share personal message and emoji sentiment through this quite addictive service.

FR: Viewers have so many content choices now. Why will they tune into Flix Premiere? 

Warner: We are in the golden age of content. We have so many movie choices, but many viewers still skip around channels to find for the exact type of movie they want to see. Flix Premiere is a highly ‘curated movie theater’ that helps you find the right movies for you.  We choose movies based on the interests of our Flix Premiere audiences. The movies we have are topics and themes that we know our audiences care about, that have broad appeal, and deliver impactful stories across all genres.  The core focus for us is the storytelling, which is why we have the most award winning current movies.  We love validating how the audiences feel at the film festivals before we acquire a film.

FR: The $50 million pledge is a big commitment. What makes Flix Premiere so confident it will pay off? And, what will make Flix Premiere see this as successful?

Warner: The investment is our commitment to help produce the type of stories that movie fans want to watch – and reward the filmmakers and producers who create these films.  If our productions set new records in viewership on our Flix Premiere site – that’s a success – we will look at opening Premiere night, the general release run and how a movie creates lasting appeal to our consumers.  We have a performance criteria that we thing puts some science into our big bets.  Stay tuned for our first Originals announcement soon.

FR:  Given all the data you’ve been able to collect about viewing habits, what have you learned about how consumers are consuming independent films via OTT and streaming platforms? 

Warner: Based on our data we know that viewers want convenient access from all types of OTT channels. That’s why we are available across different platforms, devices and channels.  It’s interesting to acknowledge that we live in a fractured market with different islands of content – but there is a tidal shift to ‘convenience’ and this means audiences moving to online applications, the cloud is the winner – and then it’s quite straight forward, millennials will watch movies and TV on mobile, tablet and desktop et al, older generations are seeking simple point and play off the TV – the least friction as possible to get the movie they want.  AirPlay and similar technologies sit in the middle.  The fact is, as a movie streaming platform, you have to be device agnostic and be ubiquitous – and offer all platforms, which is where we are at – available on 15 major platforms in the US and UK, accessible to 96% of domestic U.S and U.K households on at least two devices per household (in a lot of cases 3 devices).

FR: Flix Premiere must have to shoulder a lot of the marketing responsibilities for the films you host. How do you go about making consumers aware that these little-known films exist, and how do you pique their interest?

Warner: We developed a novel marketing approach for our films. Flix Premiere is reimagining the P&A model to be applied successfully online.  This means every movie is released to the press, has its own film premiere night, general release date / marketing and marketing plan for the first several months.  Every film receives its Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame – which is then followed by marketing science and scalability. As our demographic is highly social and mobile, we use social media to promote the films, evaluate sentiment and curate out offerings.  We also do leverage traditional advertising offline such as subway and taxi advertising in select urban markets.

Adam Flomenbaum

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