Filmhub, which bills itself as a Substack-like solution for independent filmmakers looking to profit from streaming without forfeiting rights to their work, has raised a $6.8 million seed funding round.
The round was led by a16z and included the participation of 8VC, FundersClub, Eleven Prime and several individual investors working in the tech sector.
Along with the fresh resources, Filmhub said it is launching a new partnership with streaming service Struum, a neo-bundle founded by a group of former Disney and Discovery execs. The teaming is centered on this month’s Slamdance FIlm Festival and will look to support and provide enhanced financial opportunities for filmmakers.
Founded in 2016, Filmhub relies on the assumption that streaming is going to continue to reorder the traditional film business. While a tiny fraction of emerging filmmakers still manage to nab splashy acquisition deals and gain marketing and distribution, the vast majority don’t. In addition, the terms for traditional deals can be less than advantageous to the filmmaker, whereas Filmhub offers a straight 80%-20% split, with no up-front fee.
Rather than having to fend for themselves, filmmakers using Filmhub gain access to more than 100 streaming platforms, among them major gateways like the Roku Channel and Amazon Fire TV. While some films get transactional video on demand releases, most are put out in ad-supported video on demand. Digital search and social media enable filmmakers to galvanize interest in projects, akin to how self-publishing works in the book business.
Alan d’Escragnolle, the CEO of Filmhub, which he co-founded with Klaus Badelt, said democratizing the process of getting films distributed is a core part of the company’s mission. “We started Filmhub to put ownership and monetization opportunities directly in the hands of filmmakers,” he said. “In today’s world, distribution is not limited by physical shelf space and award-winning films are coming from everywhere, not just the old studio system. There’s an insatiable appetite for diverse content and with the support of our investors, we’re building the system to make film distribution work within the new reality.”
Films by emerging voices that go undiscovered represent “a missed opportunity for both streaming services and consumers alike, especially given the potential we’re seeing for more diverse and international content,” said Andrew Chen, General Partner at a16z. “By working to move the industry’s distribution model forward, Filmhub is creating a win-win-win for creatives, platforms and viewers globally.”
In the Slamdance partnership, Struum and Filmhub are offering every filmmaker exhibiting at Slamdance to capture 100% of all revenue brought in on their respective platforms within the first year of release. Both companies will forego their usual share. Films will also be featured on Struum, which is essentially a new model bundle of streaming services created to ease the friction of today’s marketplace, in which dozens of stand-alone streaming outlets are jockeying for attention.
“Struum has created an incredible collection of independent films with our content partners,” said Paul Pastor, Struum’s co-founder and chief business officer. “With this partnership with Filmhub, we are looking to bring the films that have exhibited at Slamdance to our independent film lovers community. To continue to foster the spirit of independent film, with Filmhub, we also hope to help these creators realize the full economic potential of their films.”
Struum uses a credit-based subscription model, enabling its customers to sample an array of viewing offerings without every leaving the company’s interface. It also says its service is cost-effective, saving viewers untold amounts in subscription fees. Backers of Struum include Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company and Canadian media company Corus.
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