The company will relaunch Fandor later this year by tapping its own library of 7,000 related film titles, including from internet television service and vintage film archive The Film Detective. In a press release announcing the deal, Cinedigm said it “anticipates the service could reach seven-figure subscriber levels within the next 24-30 months with a focus on rapid global expansion and distribution.”
Fandor, which was run at various points in its history by noted film and TV industry executives Larry Aidem and Ted Hope, has an eclectic, global library 4,600 film titles from more than 400 film companies.
Cinedigm will continue to offer an ad-free, premium version of Fandor but also plans to add a free, ad-supported on-demand tier as well as a linear streaming channel in order to broaden its reach.
After the acquisition, Cinedigm also plans to relaunch Keyframe, Fandor’s web and video-based publication dedicated to the art of cinema. Phil Hopkins, president of The Film Detective, will oversee Fandor and Keyframe.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The news lifted shares in Cinedigm 15% in mid-day trading on the Nasdaq, to their highest point since last August.
Led by former Hollywood studio executive Chris McGurk, Cinedigm has evolved in recent years from a maker of cinema equipment to a provider of streaming services and owner-operator of a portfolio of branded streaming networks. It is controlled by China-based Bison Capital.
“This acquisition of Fandor, coming on the heels of our Film Detective acquisition, solidifies Cinedigm’s position as the leading global streaming company for independent films,” McGurk said. “As a key element of our recently announced streaming rollup strategy, Fandor will immediately benefit from our streaming distribution muscle, huge library of independent films, Matchpoint technology, cost savings and infrastructure and synergies with our wide portfolio of enthusiast streaming channels. We fully expect an immediate EBITDA uplift from Fandor and strong revenue and profit growth going forward.”
“The paradox of the streaming revolution is that it has never been harder to discover classic, essential and new independent and foreign films,” said Erick Opeka, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Cinedigm Networks. “The founders of Fandor had the right idea, launching very early in the streaming growth cycle while still establishing a strong and resilient brand and viewer base. Our mission at Cinedigm is to enable viewers, including independent film enthusiasts, to stream their passions, and I can’t think of a streaming service that is truer to our mission than Fandor.”
“The opportunity to leverage Fandor’s passionate community of independent film enthusiasts will be integral in the service’s growth,” Hopkins said. “Being able to communicate and collaborate with this community of content creators, bloggers, and editorial writers will allow us to significantly expand Fandor into the global focal point for streaming independent films, documentaries, classics and foreign films.”