Where it's based: Albany, N.Y.
When it was founded: 2012
Why it's Fierce: Anshuman Das' founding principle for Muvi is a simple, relatable one: "I like movies." So in 2012 he began building a Facebook-compatible streaming service--now available on PCs, iOS and Android platforms--and got to work.
In January, the 12-employee streaming company launched its content-hosting counterpart, Muvi Studio. Its small, template-based platform allows content producers to bypass the expense of privately hosting their own content from scratch, while simultaneously sidestepping content streaming giants like YouTube and Netflix. This way, users remain in control of their content, unlike with YouTube where advertising and branding is out of their hands, and Netflix where licensing contracts mean the VOD service can turn a massive profit on others' content.
"The money from ads is very small, and there's no branding," Das explained. "Small guys, big guys--everyone in the industry is at the mercy of a few giants: Netflix and YouTube. That is what we want to change."
Muvi Studio has an enticing draw to begin with--the first two weeks on the site are free. From there, cloud-based hosting (through Amazon Web Services), multiplatform digital players, in-house digital rights management and more come with a pricetag of $399 monthly, with a flexible fee for bandwidth consumption. That way, companies pay as they earn revenue (through subscriptions, views, or advertising) and grow--something Das expects for both of his VOD ventures. As content-producers begin to upload to Muvi Studio, he said, the content available for consumers on Muvi will grow. Currently, the company has over 10,000 movies available, and partnerships with Bollywood producers and South Asian VOD producer MaaFlix.
Initial funding for Muvi came from Das's other company, Exelanz, a cloud-based IT service. Das said Muvi expects revenues of around $150,000 by year's end.
What's next: Das said he hopes to work with other streaming providers, like Netflix and Hulu, to create a seamless streaming experience that allows users to log into multiple accounts on a single platform. Currently, the company's focus is on drawing users to Muvi Studio to build the company's portfolio and attract more creators and viewers.