SnagFilms launching VOD play on Comcast, Verizon FiOS TV

Nonfiction film distributor SnagFilms is celebrating its second anniversary by bringing its library to a suite of new platforms, including the creation of VOD offerings with the nation's largest MSO, Comcast, and with Verizon FiOS TV.

SnagFilms has become the web's largest and most broadly-distributed home for non-fiction films, with more than 1,500 documentaries streamed free to consumers on 90,000 websites and webpages.

"We started SnagFilms two years ago for four simple reasons," said founder and AOL Vice-Chair Emeritus Ted Leonsis. "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."

The company focused, during its first two years, at building its library, and today its 1,500 films can be accessed on mainstream media sites like the Miami Herald, as well as new media sites 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," said CEO Rick Allen. "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."

SnagFilms upcoming plans include:

  • Launching pay VOD offerings, beginning with Comcast and FiOS. Its offerings will include special selections from SnagFilms' library, and new titles that will be offered on a monthly basis.
  • Increasing 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.
  • Distributing 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.
  • Extending its library to internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles and set-top boxes this fall.

The company also said it was kicking off its second annual SummerFest, 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.

SnagFilms' wholly-owned indieWIRE, meanwhile, which focuses on the independent film sector's news and reviews, and is this month celebrating its 14th birthday, has launched a new blog with director Peter Bogdanovich.

"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."

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