Documentary distribution outlet SnagFilms—the parent company of indieWIRE—will unveil later today an expansion of the platforms for its nonfiction titles that is timed to its second anniversary, as well as deals with a range of companies for more films. Snag will bring its library of 1,500-plus films to a suite of new sources beyond the original web platform upon which it was launched. New outlets will include the creation of VOD channels with cable network Comcast and Verizon FiOS TV. Additionally, selections from SnagFilms’ library will be available for purchase on Apple’s iTunes and for rental from YouTube’s premium program. There will be both free and paid options for watching films on the new Apple iPad.
Overall, the deals being announced today will increase the size of the company’s library and also bring the titles to an array of outlets instead of relying just on the Internet. Notably, the move highlights a shift away from an entirely free model for accessing some documentary features and shorts.
Select SnagFilms titles will be available through mobile phone carriers worldwide via A3 Media Network, Snag will announce. In the fall, its library will be accessible to internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles and set-top boxes. Plans are underway as well for the launch of SnagLearning, a site that will be made available next month to educators in time for the new school year, with over 100 films available to educators for grade and subject, to which supplemental study materials will be added.
Also on tap, SnagFilms will now offer films produced by indie studio Lionsgate, large documentary aggregator New Video/Docurama, select student films from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, selections from the National Film Board of Canada, a Flip Cam film from the Disney Imagineers showing their creative process, and an array of extreme adventure and music films from the production arm of Red Bull.
Currently, SnagFilms is hosting its second annual SummerFest, which began July 15th. The series offers viewers screenings for two weeks of six documentaries headed to theaters or television in the Autumn. This year’s crop includes “The Age of Stupid,” “Shooting Robert King,” “Disco and Atomic War,” “Videocracy,” “The Socalled Movie,” as well as “A Fighting Chance,” which will later be shown on ESPN.
“Our first two years were aimed at building our library and making those films widely available,” commented SnagFilms CEO Rick Allen, in a statement to be widely distributed this morning. “Our 1,500 films are available on mainstream media sites.”
“We started SnagFilms two years ago for four simple reasons,” said SnagFilms founder Ted Leonsis in a separate statement being issued today by the company. “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.”
A profile in The New York Times today that broke the news of the deals said that Snag is also working on a deal to put its films on Netflix, but the Times said that the pact is still in the works. The piece, by Michael Cieply, said that Snag is aimed at, “distributing as many as 100,000 films,” quoting Ted Leonsis.
Founded by AOL Vice-Chair Emeritus Leonsis, SnagFilms has become the web’s largest home for non-fiction films, with more than 1500 documentaries streamed free to consumers on 90,000 websites and webpages.
“Two years in, we believe we are benefiting every aspect of the indie world,” Rick Allen said in his statement, “And define our success as a ‘double bottom line’ business that does well by doing good.” - Brian Brooks