How do you access film blooper reels, deleted scenes, and “making of” documentaries in the post-DVD age?
Some of this stuff makes its way onto sites like YouTube but more often film producers just don’t bother with it anymore.
London streaming startup We Are Colony thinks that’s a mistake and wants to bring DVD extras into the Netflix era. It offers exclusive extra footage from over a dozen films.
“The easiest way to think of it is reimagining the DVD special edition for online,” founder and CEO Sarah Tierney tells Business Insider. “We get really quality feature films with a whole host of behind the scenes, making of additional content. That content ranges from: deleted scenes, production diaries, making of, blooper reels, extended scenes; all the way through to things like scripts, story boards, stills. It’s really deep.”
Tierney worked for Bafta-winning TV production company Clarity before moving into the world of startups with educational video platform Twig. She launched We Are Colony in 2013.
The company has just raised $US2 million (£1.3 million) from New York media VC fund Archer Grey, UK fund Firestartr (which has in the past backed TransferWise), and Essex Innovation.
Tierney’s pitch is that because consumers are bombarded with “content,” films can get lost once they hit a platform like Netflix — there’s just too much choice.
Bundling up a release with exclusive content from stars like Benedict Cumberbatch can help a title catch someone’s eye.
Tierney says: “It used to be that film was a market of scarcity but now it’s a market of abundance and there are so many places to discover that content. We see integrating marketing and distribution as the real key here.”
We Are Colony’s browser-based platform launched to the public in February and it currently has over 20 titles, many of them exclusive. The films are mainly indie titles but with big name actors.
Tierney says: “We really look to curate audiences around talent. While the titles you’re looking at might not be mainstream studio titles they have talent like Benedict Cumberbatch or Ben Whishaw, Judi Dench, Tom Hiddleston.”
While not all the films are exclusive, all the add-on content is. Tierney says: “Our early catalogue has been about demonstrating our ability to galvanize audiences around this talent. What we’ll see in the next few months as we announce all these content partnerships is a real boost in terms of the scope and scale of features we’re working on.”
Tierney won’t say how many users the site currently has, saying only that it has sign-ups in 107 countries and a third of its business comes from the UK. Tierney says 19% of those who sign up have bought a title and one-third of those have bought two or more films. Unlike Netflix, We Are Colony is not subscription-based and users pay a £1 fee to access each title.
The $US2 million will go toward launching We Are Colony on smart TVs and building a suite of apps, as well as expanding the team.