Snag Films lanuches in beta today with 250 films available for immediate streamed playback, requiring no software downloads. Snag's founders hope that it will spawn millions of virtual movie theaters streaming documentaries. Independent documentary films are experiencing a creative boom, yet theatrical distribution channels have gone bust, Snag may solve the bottleneck in distribution for quality documentaries that has left many great films unable to reach their potential audience or to provide a viable financial return. It also offers established media companies with deep libraries a way of getting “long-tail” documentaries out of the vaults and before a worldwide, on-demand audience.
Founded by Ted Leonsis, AOL Vice Chairman Emeritus and producer of
award-winning documentary films; backed by Leonsis, AOL co-founder and
Revolution LLC Chairman Steve Case, and venture capitalist Miles
Gilburne; and led by industry veterans, SnagFilms brings the best
nonfiction films to a global web audience, promotes viral web
distribution through virtual movie theater widgets, and encourages
users to engage with the films’ issues and supporter communities.
The new service features award-winning titles from some of the greatest names in documentary film production and distribution, including PBS, National Geographic, United Nations, Sundance Preserve, IndiePix, Peter Jennings Productions, Arts Alliance America, ITVS, Koch Lorber Films, and many others. Many of the most prominent documentary filmmakers are participating not only by having their films distributed via SnagFilms, but by engaging with their audience through blogs and offering special “bonus” material, as well as suggesting nonprofit organizations that viewers motivated by these films can link to and support via charitable contributions, volunteering or spreading the word.
“There has never been a time when so many high-quality socially relevant documentary films have been made, yet even though tens of thousands of documentaries are submitted to film festivals every year, only a handful find theatrical distribution. SnagFilms was created so that anyone who has a website, publishes a blog, or participates in a social network can open an online multiplex theater, giving others an opportunity to watch one or more of the films we’ll stream, to distribute these films by snagging them for their own sites, and to support the causes promoted by these films by linking to participating nonprofits. Through SnagFilms, everyone on the web can be a theater owner and a film distributor if they just donate their pixels and enable these incredible documentaries to be seen,” said SnagFilms founderTed Leonsis.
Visitors to SnagFilms.com can find a
documentary they would like to see via the search window; or by
scanning a complete list of films, selecting from the most popular,
most recently added; or from editorial recommendations; or by browsing
eleven categories, from “Politics” to “Sports”, “Environment” to
“Health”, from “History” to “Life and Culture”, and more.
Each film also is available in a widget that easily allows viewers, bloggers and others to take the film and accompanying material with them (hence the name “SnagFilms”) and place it on their own website, blog, or social network page. The SnagFilms widget, modified from software developed by Clearspring Technologies, seamlessly enables the viewer to snag either a single movie, or multiple movies in pre-arranged category widgets. With a few easy clicks, these widgets can be placed by any viewer on their Facebook or MySpace pages, and dozens of other social network sites. Indeed, SnagFilms widgets can turn any web page into a digital movie theater, offering free, full-length viewing of the best of non-fiction films via a pop-up player.
Posted by Casey Kazan.