Screen Media to Offer Free Streaming Movies on New Website

4:02 PM PST 03/20/2011 by Carolyn Giardina

The independent distributor's ad-supported Popcornflix.com, launching Tuesday in the U.S., will feature more than 1,500 titles, including "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" and "Sherrybaby."

Underscoring the growing appetite for streaming movies, independent distributor Screen Media Ventures is introducing an ad-supported online digital platform for delivery of free movies.

Launching on Tuesday in the U.S., Popcornflix.com taps into Screen Media's library of more than 1,500 film titles, including The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and Sherrybaby.

"The platform enables Screen Media to leverage its vast film library and industry partnerships to aggressively expand its extensive digital distribution through a new on-demand, online, digital platform," said David Fannon, executive vp at Screen Media. "New titles are continually being added to Popcornflix, and the site will offer more than 1,000 titles by the end of the year."

"It's taking our destiny into our own hands so we have control over promoting our content," Gary Delfiner, Screen Media senior vp digital distribution, told The Hollywood Reporter. "The bottom line is we have a large library and we believe streaming movies online is really what the viewer wants -- when they want, as often as they want."

Each free film will include preroll, spot ads and banner ads. Popcornflix allows users to share the film by posting a link to Facebook or Twitter.

"We have made it extremely user-friendly," Delfiner said. "Movies are represented by the key art rather than thumbnails."

Users can browse and select movies in various ways, searching by genre, actor or director and selecting from new arrivals or the site's most popular films.

Popcornflix.com also is hoping to partner with indie producers who have films that need distribution. "We think it is going to be an optimal vehicle for indie producers to bring us their content and have us showcase it in the best possible way you can see it online," Delfiner said.

He added that while Popcornflix.com is a movie-focused site, the company plans to acquire some Web series for the site.

Asked about how the start-up plans to make itself known, Delfiner said, "We have a comprehensive marketing plan, which includes extensive search optimization, advertising online and cross promotions."

Popcornflix.com launches in a few weeks in Canada and in additional international territories during the next 60 days. Some regions will offer select studio titles, per existing distribution agreements. Additional distribution outlets are in the works, including web-enabled TVs, DVD players and set-top boxes.

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