announces a landmark expansion in its distribution of nonfiction films by bringing its library to a suite of new platforms, including the creation of VOD offerings with Comcast, the nation's leading provider of entertainment, information and communication products, and with Verizon FiOS TV, the converged communications platform. Additionally, SnagFilms' wholly-owned indieWIRE (which focuses on the independent film sector's news and reviews, and is this month celebrating its 14th birthday) expanded its roster of leading film voices, announcing a new blog with legendary director Peter Bogdanovich.
“The web's infinite choice can lead to confusion”
Founded by AOL Vice-Chair Emeritus Ted Leonsis (an award-winning documentary film producer), SnagFilms has become the web's largest and most broadly-distributed home for non-fiction films, with more than 1500 documentaries streamed free to consumers on 90,000 websites and webpages. “We started SnagFilms two years ago for four simple reasons,” Leonsis said. “We wanted to use the scale and interactivity of the web to bring great films to a broader audience. We wanted to create new tools and revenue opportunities for the entire indie ecosystem – filmmakers, festivals, film schools, non-profits, journalists and advertisers. We wanted to provide context and a community for film fans and the industry. And we wanted to deepen the reach of what we call filmanthropy by utilizing powerful films to catalyze discussion and lead to positive social change through individuals contributing what they could, whether it’s their time, money, or even the pixels on their Facebook page on which they could open a virtual theater with a great documentary film they’d snagged from SnagFilms. Today we announce a series of advances toward all of these goals.”
"We're pleased to expand our partnership with SnagFilms from online to bringing top quality non-fiction films to millions of our digital cable customers' living rooms through On Demand," said Diana Kerekes, Vice President, Video Entertainment Services for Comcast. "We are continuously looking for new partners with exciting content to expand our On Demand offerings and Snag is the perfect fit to hit indie film fans across the country."
SnagFilms announced that it would:
- Launch pay VOD offerings, beginning with Comcast and FiOS. Offerings will include special selections from SnagFilms' library, and new titles that will be offered on a monthly basis.
- Increase purchase and viewing venues. Selections from SnagFilms library will be available for purchase on iTunes; for rental from YouTube's premium program; and both free and for purchase on the iPad.
- Distribute select films through mobile phone carriers worldwide (via A3 Media Network). Initial distribution on two major carriers with a reach of 6 million subscribers is set to expand to multiple carriers with an addressable audience of over 200 million mobile customers.
- Extend its library to internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles and set-top boxes this fall.
- Commence its second annual SummerFest, beginning July 15, offering viewers screenings of six heralded documentaries headed to theaters or TV in the fall. SummerFest 2010 offers two-week sneak peeks of each of the festival favorites The Age of Stupid; Shooting Robert King; Disco and Atomic War; Videocracy and The Socalled Movie, as well as ESPN-bound A Fighting Chance. (More about SummerFest 2010 here.)
- Launch SnagLearning, a special site that will be made available next month to educators in time for the new school year, with over 100 films slotted by education advisers for grade and subject, to which supplemental study materials will be added.
- Expand its distribution of the greatest documentary film libraries. SnagFilms will now offer films produced by leading indie studio Lionsgate; noted documentary aggregator New Video/Docurama; top student films from USC's School of Cinematic Arts; major selections from the National Film Board of Canada; an innovative Flip Cam film from the famed Disney Imagineers showing their creative process, and an array of extreme adventure and music films from the production arm of Red Bull.
“Our first two years were aimed at building our library and making those films widely available,” said SnagFilms CEO Rick Allen. “Our 1500 films are available on mainstream media sites like the Miami Herald, new media leaders like AOL, Hulu and Fancast, non-profit websites as varied as the USO’s and Nature Conservancy’s, and thousands of blogs, special interest sites and social network pages. We’ve brought a global audience to see films that may never have been shown in their local theaters, increased the engagement of audiences with powerful documentary films, and genuinely encourage philanthropic activity in support of causes important to passionate filmmakers. Two years in, we believe we are benefiting every aspect of the indie world, and define our success as a ‘double bottom line’ business that does well by doing good.”
"The web's infinite choice can lead to confusion," said indieWIRE founder and editor-in-chief Eugene Hernandez. "Our daily journalistic coverage of independent film helps provide important context. With SnagFilms' support, we've not only relaunched our site, but deepened our coverage. We provide the most comprehensive coverage of film festivals (with official roles at bellwethers like Cannes and now for Toronto), and in the last year have added internationally-recognized writers like Leonard Maltin, Anne Thompson, Todd McCarthy, Sydney Levine and now Peter Bogdanovich, together with important new voices like Eric Kohn. As SnagFilms provides great films to new platforms, we'll provide the context for those viewers, helping film fans to decide what's most promising in theaters, in DVDs or online."
Academy Award nominated director Peter Bogdanovich didn't have to go far to combine art form and eponymy for his new indieWIRE-housed website blogdanovich.com, which will launch next month. "I came to indieWIRE at the suggestions of my friends Todd McCarthy and Leonard Maltin, who loved the creative environment that indieWIRE had surrounded them with," Bogdanovich said. "The traditional trade outlets are disappearing and too many on the web care more about rumor than film. I'm looking forward to writing about classic movies - works that endure because their brilliance and humanity."
indieWIRE also announced a suite of new tools for the film industry, enhancing its Festival Guide (necessary information about the world’s top film festivals) and Release Guide (tracking the availability of new indie films); adding new features to its Filmmaker Toolkit (resources for working filmmakers); and increasing the number of leading film critics contributing to its CriticWIRE (now featuring more than 100 of the country’s top critics). indieWIRE is also rolling out its versions of the site optimized for a range of mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPad.