Program guide tech acquired by Slated and licensed to IFP
Festival Genius — the web tech that powers online program guides for film fests — has been acquired by Gotham-based company Slated and licensed to nonprofit org IFP. Move boosts the profile for New York’s IFP, which will now administer the program-guide service that has been used by more than 200 international fests, including this year’s edition of Sundance. Festival Genius was created by tech firm B-Side, which shuttered earlier this year after it lost funding. Despite B-Side’s demise, the Festival Genius tech and database become a hot property which is said to have attracted about 30 bidders. Festival Genius not only powers programming guides but also collects market research on films that make the festival circuit. According to reps, the online service has logged feedback on 40,000 features from an average of 3 million visitors per year. Program also has built a registered membership of 200,000 filmgoers. Slated, a for-profit company founded by CEO Duncan Cork in 2009, acquired all of B-Side’s intellectual property. Slated’s licensing deal with IFP allows that company to be the entity offering the service to film fests. Former members of the B-Side team will go to Slated and to IFP, with B-Side founder Chris Hyams joining Slated. Those involved in the deal — in which B-Side was repped by Liesl Copland of WME — wouldn’t give financial specifics of the arrangement. According to IFP, several past Festival Genius users are on board to continue use of the tech, including Sundance, Fantastic Fest, Austin Film Fest and NewFest. IFP exec director Joana Vicente said that with Festival Genius, the nonprofit will not only be able to offer the service to film fests but also can give some of its market research data to filmmakers to help them strategize on career development and audience building. “It definitely extends our mission in terms of connecting filmmakers, festivals and audiences,” she said. “It also puts us on a national and international level and gives us much more prominence.” On the for-profit side, Slated aims to leverage Festival Genius’ market research data — including indicators of aud awareness, interest and response to films, plus trends among various fests — with film distributors. “Like B-Side, Slated is still taking that kind of information to film distributors to help them find films on the festival circuit that are resonating with audiences,” said Hyams, the B-Side founder now at Slated. Slated is also developing further products and services, with specifics to be announced later in the year.