PopcornFlix Hopes People Will Watch Free, Ad-Sponsored Movies Online

By Kenna McHugh Comment

Screen Media ventures into streaming movies with Popcornflix.com and has tapped into the streaming movie growth by launching an ad-supported online digital platform for delivery of free movies. The service will feature more than 1,500 titles from The Private Lives of Pippa Lee to Sherrybaby.

The scheme is to draw from Screen Media’s library, “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,” David Fannon, executive VP at Screen Media told The Hollywood Reporter. “New titles are continually being added to Popcornflix, and the site will offer more than 1,000 titles by the end of the year.”

Yes, each free is film, which includes a preroll, spot ads and banner ads. The service is extremely user-friendly. Popcornflix allows users to share the film by posting a link to Facebook or Twitter.

Movie surfers can browse and select movies in different ways: searching by genre, actor or director and selecting from new arrivals or the site’s most popular films.

Popcornflix.com hopes to partner with independent film producers who have films that need more exposure or distribution. Although we are talking about movies, the company plans to acquire some Web series for the site.

I wonder if movie surfers will gravitate to ad-supported movies online. We already see it in Yahoo movie trailers as well as NBC highlight clips. Like any commercial, they can be cumbersome. Then, I wonder, how Popcornflix will generate its own exposure?

Looking over their selection, I see independent films with big name stars like Lyme Life, Loverboy, Judgement in Berlin and Mojave Moon, which stars Angelina Jolie.

Apparently, the company has big start-up plans to make itself known, “We have a comprehensive marketing plan, which includes extensive search optimization, advertising online and cross promotions,” explains Gary Delfiner, Screen Media senior VP digital distribution.

In a few weeks, Popcornflix.com will land in Canada and in additional international territories during the next couple of months. Other distribution outlets are in the works, including web-enabled TVs, DVD players and set-top boxes.