iFilm to consult, help promote site

FilmTrust.com has inked a deal with iFilm.com to acquire several software packages that target the filmmaking community with online production, location scouting and job-search tools.

The deal, which also involves a partnership where iFilm receives an equity stake in FilmTrust (it becomes the company’s largest minority shareholder), creates an adversary for Creative Planet, trying to push its own Web-based production tools on Hollywood.

Specific financial terms for the software packages — Productionpro, Locationpro and Jobpro — were not disclosed, but iFilm said that it will provide consulting and promotional support for the services once they are folded into FilmTrust’s site in the coming months.

IFilm will not only push FilmTrust’s products (still mostly under wraps) on iFilmpro’s 21,000 registered subscribers and iFilm’s 800,000 unique monthly users, but also to users of the Hollywood Creative Directory, Lone Eagle Publishing, FilmFinders and Scriptshark.com, which it also owns.

FilmTrust, headed by Andrew Adelson and Nick Lombardo, said it plans to launch its online procurement and production budget management services for the TV, film, music, video and commercial industries next year. Company was launched through a strategic alliance with Hollywood payroll venture Entertainment Partners and a partnership with IBM.

IFilm had originally acquired the software products through its takeover of studioXchange in March, but decided the best way to market those products was through a partnership.

Locationpro, offering scouts destinations across the U.S., had already launched on iFilmpro during the summer, while the other databases were still being test-marketed. Productionpro, which puts all paperwork online required in the production of a project, is being seen as the biggest value to FilmTrust.

Creative Planet, which has long deemed itself the dominant player when it comes to offering filmmakers online production tools, said that it takes time and money to make its services work in Hollywood and that iFilm has an uphill climb in front of it should it want to climb into the ring.

Creative Planet recently secured an additional round of $30 million to build its software tools and databases.

The space, however, is still in its fledgling stages. Not one studio has signed on to use products released by Creative Planet, iFilm or other players. That may be because not all of their services have hit the market yet.

“These companies are still building their products,” said Kevin Wendle, CEO of IFilm. “Until we do, we won’t have anything to go out and show people and sell. This will take a couple of years. Where there are some companies that want to be the only game in town, that’s not how it works. There are other companies that have done a good job at raising money, but the industry is still at ground zero. There are still alternatives out there.”

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