New VOD service Flix Premiere has launched in the UK.
The pay-per-view site, which offers titles to rent online, was founded by entrepreneur Martin Warner.
The site joins an increasingly competitive market – only this week, for example, TalkTalk relaunched its rebranded blinkbox as TalkTalk TV Store – but describes itself as “the world’s first online cineplex”, something that appears mostly to be linked to its focus on following up each of its releases with a long-term marketing campaign via social media and other channels.
Flix Premiere is currently live in the UK and the US, with a soft launch in March 2016 building up to the service’s official launch in May. It positions itself as “the single point of discovery for first-run movie premieres”.
“Each movie that will premiere on our platform can only be found at Flix Premiere. We not only pride ourselves in the movies and content we have available, but also in the way we display and present these films,” says the site, which highlights the differences (and similarities) between normal cinemas and its own approach.
“We announce the movie, give you a red carpet screening with our Film Premiere night, and then offer our movies on General Release,” explains Warner in a company blog post. “And the good news is that being online means that if the movie played last week on our multiplex — you can scroll back and still stream it.”
The struggle for any new VOD service is standing out from the pack – in a digital age, for example, the ability to stream movies any time on-demand is something that is inherent to all online video platforms. Content has increasingly become a key way to achieve this. Flix Premiere aims to release eight or nine movies a week. At the time of writing, it has nine titles available to rent in the UK, with each one available for 24 hours after purchase. Films costs £3.99, which makes it slightly more expensive than the more traditional £3.49 rental fee for 48 hours of viewing on most other transactional VOD platforms. Once purchased, a film can be streamed through a website browser, with a mobile app for iOS and Android devices in the pipeline.
“The majority of great films have long been underappreciated and overlooked due to the Hollywood model set in place ages ago. Consumers are forced to believe that the only new movies available each year, are films that have a theatrical run,” notes the site. “In reality, as many as 95 per cent of films ‘never’ find their audience or recover their investment due to this belief; therefore, the majority of great films have become difficult to discover, expensive to fund, and even harder to market.”
The strategy of acquiring exclusive films that have not found distribution elsewhere has also been adopted by streaming service FilmDoo and is proving a successful way to differentiate the site from subscription streaming services, such as Netflix. Indeed, Warner has told Variety that he expects “over 2 million” viewers in Flix Premiere’s first year, with more international territories set to be announced in the future.
Among Flix Premiere’s present line-up are Little Accidents and Elephant Song. Both were released last year on VOD in the UK, with Elephant Song – starring Xavier Dolan, pictured above – now available exclusively on Flix Premiere (you can read our review here). At the time of writing, Little Accidents is also available to purchase on We Are Colony.
Warner will be speaking at Cannes next month, as part of the festival’s NEXT program, to talk about the site’s disruptive model. In the meantime, here’s the current slate of titles to rent:
Alex of Venice
The story of a workaholic attorney forced to reinvent her life after her husband suddenly leaves, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
An out-of-control gambler meets a mysterious bookie who offers him twisted bets with greater risks but better payoffs
A Nightingale Falling
Two sisters conceal a wounded British officer during the war and must confront opposing forces and their own rivalry to save his life.
Patrick Stewart plays a Manhattan ballet instructor concealing a sordid past.
The Gian Mechanical Man
An off beat romantic comedy about a street performer and an unemployed woman who help each other realise the value of self-worth.
Two women reunite in London, where they go over the details of a life-changing event,w which occurred when they were teenagers in Jerusalem.
A psychiatrist is drawn into a complex mind game when he questions a disturbed patient about the disappearance of a colleague.
In a small town living in the shadow of a terrible coal mine accident, the disappearance of a teenage boy brings three strangers together.
The story of the most infamous film financier in Hollywood, Frans Afman, who paves the way for independent film to flourish.
Glass Chin (6th May)
A former boxing champ is forced to choose between friendship and ambition when he is framed for murder.
Sonata for Cello (27th May)
A renowned cellist struggles against a physical disorder in attempting to prepare for concerts.