ScreenHits Raises $1.2 Million to Build Out Online Marketplace

U.K. “angel” investors join with the British government in an early stage company with a system that matches TV program buyers and sellers, and offers streaming content.

ScreenHits, which has developed an online marketplace that matches buyers and sellers of TV shows and TV movies and is offering streaming content online, has raised $1.2 million from a group of angel investors to further develop its technology and increase business development.

The privately held company, which is based in London and was founded in 2012 by American entertainment executive Rose Adkins, announced Monday that its new "angel" investors include Rory Fleming (a London banker and nephew of the late James Bond author, Ian Fleming), Aeneas Reay (an investor and heir to a Scottish title) and investor Flemming Lund, among others.

The idea, says Adkins, who is CEO of ScreenHits and majority owner, is to provide an on-demand marketplace of content with real-time, real-world commentary from consumers. 

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ScreenHits also announced distribution deals with Caracol, Fox Latin America, Relativity Media, AG Properties, Telemundo and Venevision. Those are on top of existing content marketing deals with Hasbro, TVF, eOne and SkyVision.

The web-based platform, which is still in a test phase, allows broadcasters and other content owners and distributors to market shows around the world, with a listing of what rights are available by territory. A buyer can click and watch an episode before licensing the content.

The site also allows the distributors to do market research -- a pilot is posted and viewers give feedback.

There also is an option for consumers to stream individual shows for 99 cents each or subscribe to the service, while some shows are available to view for free.  

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ScreenHits also has early stage funding from U.K. Trade and Investment and the U.K. government through SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) and EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme).

"We were able to provide strategic introductions to key industry players, as well as on-the-ground support in terms of logistics around company formation, accounting, tax and office space," says New York-based Richard Powell, U.K. Trade and  Investment organization vice consul. "Helping ScreenHits to grow and develop…showcases the desire from U.K. Government to nurture, support and grow innovative companies."

 "ScreenHits is a unique investment," says Fleming, "as it combines the best of consumer online video platforms with global content distribution on a B2B side and connects the two worlds together seamlessly, providing unique benefits on both parts -- creating a low-cost, high-return business model."