"SnagFilms plus Bingham Ray is a great combination"
SnagFilms is a leader in distributing free, ad-supported titles from a library of over 2000 non-fiction films. Last year, SnagFilms entered the transactional world with launches of video on demand channels on Comcast and Verizon FiOS, as well as titles for sale through the Apple's iTunes store. Earlier this month, SnagFilms debuted its iPad application with the largest collection of award-winning U.S. films offered free to iPad users.
"As a profitable company with substantial private investors, SnagFilms didn't need to raise outside capital," said company founder Ted Leonsis. "However, we saw overwhelming strategic value in involving NEA, a pioneer and leading venture capital firm, and CIC, the investment arm of Comcast. SnagFilms is very well-financed and uniquely positioned now to bring the full array of independent films – fiction and non-fiction, U.S. and foreign – to global audiences on all platforms and devices. We've amassed a library of 2,000 documentaries since our launch, and we're now building distribution opportunities for tens of thousands of independent films in both categories. That's great news for film fans and for filmmakers."
"SnagFilms is perfectly positioned to fuse technology and content in a manner that has marked many of the transformational industry leaders we have helped build in the past," said NEA Managing General Partner Peter Barris, who joins the Company's Board of Directors. "New devices and digital platforms will allow consumers unprecedented access to quality content, and SnagFilms will be there to delight them. We are pleased to be able to invest in SnagFilms at this time, and to help them add fictional indie films to their expertise with documentaries – and to take both genres to the full swath of digital platforms and devices." Among many other investments, Barris serves on the board of Groupon as its first VC investor.
"We are excited about the new opportunities SnagFilms creates, especially for independent filmmakers who historically could not get distribution," said David Horowitz, Managing Director of Comcast Interactive Capital. "This investment reflects our view that consumers are demanding a diverse selection of high-quality content that can be watched on any platform or device."
SnagFilms also announced that industry veteran Bingham Ray will join the Company to help guide its entry into distribution of fictional narrative and foreign-produced independent films. Ray, former President of United Artists, October Films and Kimmel Entertainment, and honored for Lifetime Achievement by the Gotham Awards, has deep experience in the acquisition, marketing and distribution of motion pictures, including Hotel Rwanda, Bowling for Columbine, Secrets & Lies, War Room, High Art, Last Days and Breaking the Waves.
"Bingham has been an advocate for filmmakers throughout his career," noted Rick Allen, SnagFilms CEO. "His record of successful distribution on traditional platforms provides a strategic sense and depth of relationships that will be invaluable as we extend our model into a broader array of films. Bingham will be a key member of our large presence at the Sundance Film Festival this week and beyond."
"I've been a big fan of SnagFilms from their earliest days, and am truly thrilled to be part of the team as they expand the service, bringing more filmmakers to bigger audiences on a wider array of platforms," said Ray. "This is the future of our business."
"SnagFilms plus Bingham Ray is a great combination," said Tom Bernard, co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics. "Bingham knows the indie world as well as anyone alive and is admired for his experience and for always delivering for filmmakers. He'll be a big asset to SnagFilms' expansion."
In addition, SnagFilms intends to use its new growth capital to expand its indieWIRE unit, now in its 15th year as the leading web source of news, reviews and analysis of independent film. "indieWIRE's traffic is now ten times what it was when we purchased it two and a half years ago," Allen said. "Before the Academy Awards are announced later this month, you'll see new editor-in-chief Dana Harris add ongoing features to our coverage of the indie world, and exciting new blogs to our Network, like the recently-added blog The Playlist."