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665 Broadway, Suite 609
New York, NY

The NYU Cinema Research Institute brings together innovators in film and media finance, production, marketing, and distribution to imagine and realize a new future for artist-entrepreneurs. 


I Need Your (special, engaged, aware) Mind For a Moment...

Claire Harlam

I've spent my first three months as a CRI fellow surveying the space I want to research and analyze as comprehensively as an ever-evolving field will allow, which is the strange new world where online content, community, discovery and curation meet. A critical and ongoing component of my CRI project, I will write a biweekly column that will live on various sites and systematically analyze this world (based on a rubric that I will share in my next post). Each column will focus either on a specific platform, or on a category of platforms (see list of POTENTIAL PLATFORMS FOR ANALYSIS below). I will create a malleable overview of this space that explains how any particular app or platform functions and helps (or doesn’t help) filmmakers and fans within it. Since I want to ultimately answer this research with my own platform, the column will further expose the challenges of answering a need and the barriers to entry that an every-evolving field involves.

My big problem now is that this here list is crazy long and still probably lacking some key platforms that I've either overlooked entirely because my radar is over-saturated or whose Beta test I don't know about because I'm not special enough to have received the invite.

SO, Special folks: Please leave a comment here, email me at, or twittertweet @Harlam if I've left a key platform off of this list, or if you have suggestions as to how I can better focus or categorize this beast of a list.

I am trying to look at platforms that address this space (where, again, online content, community, discovery and curation meet), but I am not focusing on independent (or not so independent) film-specific platforms for the very reason that I don't think these platforms have gotten it right (and some recent Beta test suspensions would suggest that their founders would agree).

You should therefore please feel free to throw anything that interests or excites my way (anything, ultimately, that involves content and community).

There are so many interesting platforms out there right now, (almost) each with its own unique perspective and thus lesson. Help me figure out which of these lessons are going to help our filmmaking community the most.

Herein, that (beast of a) list:

(updated 6/14)


(by categories which themselves are also up for (need) debate)




MOPIX (direct distribution)

  • “Your video app marketplace”
  • A framework for content owners to quickly and easily distribute, brand and sell their content in a social-enriched marketplace via web and apps
  • Users will discover, watch, experience and own content from any device they choose


• INDIEFILMZ (direct distribution for shorts)

  • “Facilitating a direct and rewarding connection between the creator and audience during ‘the short phase’ of the filmmaking career”
  • Direct distribution platform for short films


• VEAM (direct distribution via app)

  • “Films direct to audience. Profits direct to you.”
  • Filmmakers post content, filmmaker sets the price of the content, Veam creates an app for the filmmaker to distribute his content on app stores, filmmaker profits



  • You make films. We do the distribution dirty work. We send you money and reports. You keep making films.
  • Boutique film distribution company that offers brick and mortar and retail digital distribution, and direct-to-consumer fulfillment services.



  • “Distrify turns film sharing into sales and your fans into a community”
  • It’s a video-playing tool that allows whomever watches your film to buy or share it immediately from within the video player



  • “Powering Independence” “Because good content is worth paying for”
  • Video playing platform that can be embedded anywhere and has a seamless payment process through PayPal or Amazon.



  • “Sell Films Securely”
  • You've put blood, sweat, tears and lots of money into your film. Now it's time to bring it to the world. Eggup provides a secured platform to help you promote your film, connect with fans, and build a business.



  • “Your film in profit, fast”
  • Pay for seamless distribution to major online digital marketplaces and Cable VOD



  • offers the broadest collection of great independent movies you can watch right now, on demand, for free, and share with others – films that entertain and inform, engage and inspire, satisfy every taste, encourage discovery and create community.”




  • For Filmmakers: We act as both asset and advocate to our filmmakers, partnering with them to capture an audience for their creative work. Provocative, distinct and fresh content is our focus.
  • For Audience: FilmBuff pushes the boundaries of digital distribution to provide audiences with the widest possible range of viewing options. We work to  provide the online content consumers demand to all possible devices on which they could choose to view it.






• PRESCREEN (curated, social, discovery, VOD) **SUSPENDED***

  • “Discovery one new movie each day, stream on demand”
  • Filmmakers submit films, prescreen features streaming for a low price, users get an email promoting one film every day


• CONSTELLATION (curated, social, discovery online theater)

  • “Constellation is your online movie theater”
  • Users purchase tickets to attend schedule showtimes, or create their own showtimes for social viewing (VIP hosts, friends, etc.)
  • Unclear how/if filmmakers can submit


• MUBI (curated, social, discovery)

  • “Your online cinema. Anytime. Anywhere.”
  • An online movie theater where you watch, discovery, and discuss  auteur cinema.



  • “Essential Films, instantly.”
  • VOD streaming service for independent, international film for monthly fee.



  • “Where creativity meets opportunity”
  • Openfilm showcases a fast growing collection of high quality, live action and animated films displayed in the highest quality available on the web. Our site provides a venue for users to watch premium content and for filmmakers to exhibit their works.





VHX (social content discovery/aggregation)

  • “We’ve combined the best parts of TV with the best parts of the web.”
  • Users discover video through their social network—like Pinterest, but for video content


CHILL (social content discovery/aggregator)

  • “Discover the best videos in the world”
  • Users discover video through their social network—like Pinterest, but for video content


SQURL (content discovery/aggregation)

  • “The best place to watch and discovery video”
  • Users can aggregate favorite videos from the web and discover new videos from their featured content





TUGG (crowd-sourced exhibition)

  • “Bring the Movies YOU Want to your Local Theater”
  • Users create film events, spread the word, get enough RSVPS to watch the film together
  • Has a library


GATHR (crowd-sourced exhibition)

  • “Theatrical On Demand”
  • Users “Gathrit” (a button by films with limited distribution), spread the word, get enough RSVPs to watch the film together
  • Has a library


OPEN INDIE (crowd-source exhibition/discovery)

  • “Theatrical distribution platform for independent film”
  • Filmmakers add their films, fans discover new films and request local screenings. Next they hope to turn audience demand into screenings by digitally delivering films to venues.
  • Depends more on independent filmmakers submitting their films than on an existing library/licensing rights










SOKAP (crowd-sourced investing/audience-engagement)

  • “A network of funding, marketing and distribution of big ideas in Entertainment”
  • Filmmakers license territories to users in a tipping point crowd-sourced investment model
  • “Engaged” users have more access to rewards and benefits related to the content with which they are engaged


• JUNTOBOX FILMS (crowd-sourced studio)

  • “created to share, develop, and make films”
  • allows filmmakers to upload projects they want to develop/finance/distribute; allows fans to track projects they are interested in





• NANOCROWD (locator/tech. based recommendation)

  • “we know WHY people like things”
  • uses a technology called Reaction Mapping® to figure out what you like, and then it tells you where that content is available for streaming or purchase
  • basically canistreamit but with tech-based curation/recommendation


FILMASTER (locator/tech. based recommendation)

  • “your movie guide”
  • Recommends what you should watch tonight in theaters, on TV, or Netflix based on your unique taste


• SCENE CHAT (social video sharing (and tracking) system)           

  • “socially ignite the videos on your website”
  • allows advertisers or content creators to add a social utility to their videos—social is actually overlain within the video, so that comments can be left in real time


• WATCH IT (locator)

  • “one queue, any platform”
  • it’s a guide to what’s playing and where it’s playing, so that you can build a queue of movies you want to see, discover where they are playing online, share that with your friends



BIG PLAYERS (each gets its own analysis?)




(• MILYONI (Facebook fan monetizer)

  • “The leader in social entertainment”
  • They help entertainment and lifestyle companies convert Facebook fans into customers through their “Social Cinema” and “Social Live” platforms.


• CINECLIQ (Facebook based film-on-demand platform)

  • “Turn Facebook into Your Home Theater”
  • Rent films in an online Facebook-based theater)
















  • “Build the perfect web-presence to gather your film’s audience and sell direct”
  • “Clever software” that creates and manages your web-presence, gathers and tracks your audience, provides sales mechanisms to sell your film and products. Helps build your presence across many platforms.



  • “Powering personalized video experiences across all screens”
  • Video analytics platform that tracks viewer engagement in real time across all devices for big companies. They believe the future of media is leveraging these crucial insights to create deeply personalized vieweing experiences that increase viewership and grow revenue.