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Screen Media Launches Free Movie Service

21 Mar, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

Gary Delfiner, SVP of digital distribution for independent Screen Media Ventures, knows his company has something unique.

The March 22 launch of Popcornflix.com, a new ad-supported movie service, offering 200 films for free, marks the first such venture completely operated by an independent, with no major studio involvement.

Popcornflix.com offers independent films supported by ads, with most of the films coming from Screen Media’s library, with Screen Media working on deals to add films from other independent producers via revenue-sharing agreements. Screen Media has more than 1,500 films in its library, and aims to add more than 1,000 titles to Popcornflix in the next six to nine months.

Some of the more popular offerings available at launch include Super High Me, 18 Fingers of Death, Mojave Moon and 2 Brothers and a Bride.

Genres available at launch include romance, comedy, children, urban, action/thrillers, horror, Spanish and documentaries. Delfiner said the company would add foreign films, Bollywood and Web original categories soon.

“The reaction has been phenomenal,” Delfiner said. “We’ve built an optimal consumer experience for viewing free content.”

A 15- or 30-second ad launches before every film, with ads popping up during the film, and static ads shown on screen when a film isn’t playing full screen.

Films launch quickly and offer simple pause, play, fast-forward, rewind and volume controls. Unobtrusive menu options include the ability to email a link to the film, access basic film information, and share the film’s link on Facebook and Twitter.

Delfiner said Screen Media would use the site to help drive DVD sales.

“The digital business is evolving, and that’s not a bad thing,” Delfiner said. “But the physical piece of this business is by no means over.”

And because the films are formatted as H.264 video, they’ll be optimal for when Popcornflix.com is included on connected devices, including Roku, Boxee and HDTVs, Delfiner added.

“We’re going to be very particular about what we put up,” he said. “There are challenges in every aspect of distribution, but we believe we have something special here.”

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