A video streaming platform Indee TV developed by two young Indians is helping international film festivals and film studios around the world
The Indian star-up story in Silicon Valley is reaching out far and wide. One such tale that is knocking at the doors of Hollywood is Indee TV, a video-streaming platform, which is gaining acceptance among major studios and filmmakers as a video-submission service for important film festivals and as a digital replacement for the DVD screeners that have helped in video piracy.
The service was founded by Sharan Reddy, a Chennai resident, and has four employees, including two developers in India. The company, Indee Software Private Limited, is headquartered out of San Francisco, but its product development happens in Chennai and Bangalore.
Film festivals that use the Indee TV platform for submission include the AFI Festival of American Film Institute, NFFTY and Catalina Film Festival. Top international studios that use the platform to send digital screeners to film reviewers and test audience include Lakeshore Entertainment and Ealing Studios of the U.K. It recently concluded a deal with Reliance Entertainment Picture’s international wing.
Indee TV is a digitally secure online platform capable of serving digital screeners to an end-user ratified by either the independent filmmaker or a film studio.
An independent filmmaker who has shot his movie can submit it, either digitally or through DVD, to be stored in Indee TV’s servers and use the service to submit it to leading film festivals. The filmmaker will have to pay a per-screening charge. The content is served digitally by Indee TV’s software in a secure encrypted RTMPE format that is used by international services like Hulu.
Likewise, film studios can send out movies to select audiences digitally.
In an interview to The Hindu, Mr. Reddy said: “This helps not only to save DVD freight costs and but also to fight video piracy. Screener DVDs have gained notoriety over the years as one of the important ways pirates use to get their hands on the intellectual property of filmmakers and studios.”
In addition, Indee TV provides powerful analytical tools to gauge viewer engagement, which, in turn, can help to tailor content to audience response.
Big fight with Amazon
Though the service was originally incorporated in 2009 and in its initial phase Indee TV got an impressive clientele for its service, earlier this year Indee TV was involved in a big David-versus-Goliath fight with Amazon’s film festival platform Without A Box.
Without A Box which offers a traditional film festival submission service, and which goes without an equivalent of Indee TV’s streaming service, asked its clientele to use its service exclusively, pointing to its terms and conditions. “That was like Hotmail saying it will cut out all members who also had a Gmail account,” Mr. Reddy said. “Within a matter of days, we lost almost our entire clientele list. We were livid.”
That was when Indee TV took its fight to social networks like Facebook and launched a “Support Indee TV, boycott Without A Box” campaign, highlighting the monopolistic practice of the web giant. More than 12,000 independent filmmakers assured Indee TV of their support and threatened to boycott Without A Box. Amazon was forced to drop its conditions, and the big film festivals returned to Indee TV.
The bigger ambition for Indee TV is to take it mainstream with the support of bigger studios and featuring even bigger content as an online distribution channel.