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SINGAPORE – Online video site Viddsee, which offers Asian short films, is dedicated to providing a platform for high-quality content and wants to bring its shorts to the world, according to the founders of the Singapore-based start-up.
“We had a friend who had their short shown at Sundance, and it had about 75 views on YouTube,” said Ho Jia Jian, 26-year-old co-founder of the site, which launched in February.
Viddsee currently hosts about 200 films, mostly from Southeast Asia, with new content added at a rate of one a day for its 120,000 users.
“It’s about curation, not user-generated content,” Ho said. “Not every film submitted goes up.” He added: “And not all the films are new, some are 10 years old.”
The films, which all feature English subtitles, are currently available free, but options for premium content and subscriptions are being considered, according to the two founders. “We need to make this sustainable and provide revenue for the filmmakers, many of who want to make features in the future,” said Ho’s partner, Derek Tan.
Having started by focusing on Southeast Asian films, the site now has content partners in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, with plans to take what the founders call “hyper-local content” around the globe. “We have film festivals approaching us now, wanting to partner with the site,” said Tan.
A number of such partnerships have already been formed, and Viddsee will be the official online screening platform for the Southeast Asian edition of Tropfest, touted as the world’s largest shorts fest, to be held on the Malaysian island of Penang in January.
“We promote each other: festivals bring people together and we give a platform online for the films to reach a wider audience. It’s good synergy,” suggested Tan.
The site launched a mobile platform in June, and already 40 percent of views are coming via that route. “Even our parents are using tablets to access content these days,” said Tan.
The two met while at Singapore’s National University, Ho studying engineering and Tan software programming. Having both created TV content platforms after graduating, they are able to take care of the technical sides of Viddsee themselves. They also share a background in short film-making, having made their own shorts.
The latest addition to the platform is Viddsee Premieres, where Asian short films will host their debut screenings on the site.
“As we build value, the money will start to come once we hit a certain threshold,” predicted Ho. “Some people might think that is idealistic, but we’ve seen this happen with tech companies.”
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