SnagFilms Raises $8 Million for ViewLift OTT Business, Launches Apple TV App

Company announces hiring of ex-NeuLion exec Steven Brown as chief revenue officer

SnagFilms has shifted its focus to ViewLift, a technology and services suite for building Internet video properties, announcing about $8 million in funding earmarked for the over-the-top business.

The new funding comes from Robert and Walter McCormack-led Weekapaug Partners and Robert Hisaoka, who join existing investors including Ted Leonsis, Clark Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Revolution.

SnagFilms also announced the launch of its Apple TV app, which provides hundreds of indie films and TV shows for free. The company is developing Apple TV support for other ViewLift clients, with the platform now reaching 28 mobile and OTT devices.

Previously, SnagFilms had raised $22.47 million in three rounds, according to Crunchbase. But the latest financing is “the first raise we’ve done exclusively for ViewLift,” said CEO Rick Allen. The company has used past funding to build SnagFilms’ distribution business and news site Indiewire.com, which it sold to Variety parent Penske Media Corp. in January.

In a March 30 SEC filing, SnagFilms disclosed that it raised $7.7 million out of $10 million it was seeking. Other investors in the company include Comcast Ventures, Steve and Jean Case, and Terry Semel.

Allen sees a huge opportunity with ViewLift, as more media companies embrace OTT to serve their current audiences and develop new ones. Since launching ViewLift last year, the company has signed nine customers, including Tegna (formerly Gannett’s broadcasting division), which is developing a sports OTT service on the platform. According to Allen, ViewLift’s biggest competitor is MLB Advanced Media, whose clients include HBO, the NHL and WWE.

Along with the funding, the company announced that it has hired Steven Brown, former senior VP of advertising solutions and platform sales for OTT service firm NeuLion, as chief revenue officer. Prior to NeuLion, Brown held senior sales roles with SilverCarrot, United Online (the public company formed by the merger of NetZero and Juno) and IGN Entertainment’s Snowball.

“Steven Brown has long been a trusted guide for content companies looking to succeed over-the-top,” Allen said. “He has a proven record of building industry-leading sales teams, and helping content companies both retain their viewers and add new audiences.”

Even with the pivot to ViewLift, the company is actively promoting and developing the SnagFilms service. Titles now available on the free streaming service include “Wreckers,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy; “Stone of Destiny: Adventure Romance,” starring Kate Mara and Charlie Cox; rock documentary “Beware of Mr. Baker”; “The Trouble With Bliss,” a romantic comedy starring Brie Larson; and original comedy series featuring Alec Baldwin, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Showalter, Dave Attell, Kumail Nanjiani and Michael Che.

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