Tribeca, Lionsgate Launch ‘Shortlist’ Movie SVOD Service With a Human Touch

Streaming service to include 150 curated titles monthly, with lists from guest actors and filmmakers

Tribeca Shortlist
Courtesy of Tribeca Shortlist

If Netflix is the Whole Foods of Internet subscription video, then the new movie service from Tribeca Enterprises and Lionsgate is more like a local farmer’s market — with a smaller but purportedly higher-quality selection.

Tribeca and Lionsgate have launched Tribeca Shortlist, priced at $5.99 monthly (with a $4.99 special intro through the end of the year). The service is limited to only about 150 titles available at any given time, with about 50 of those rotating each month. But execs say they’re focused on quality, not quantity, with hand-picked films recommended by actors, directors, industry insiders and influencers who — like the target customers — love movies.

The big SVOD services in the market cater to general-interest entertainment consumers. To Tribeca Shortlist president Jeff Bronikowski, who joined the JV in May, there’s a gap in the market for a more specialized service.

“We’re for people who like high-quality movies, individuals who have a discerning but wide-ranging taste,” Bronikowski said.

Films available at launch include such indie and arthouse fare as “Fargo,” “City of God,” “Crash,” “Amelie,” “Chasing Amy,” “Far From Men,” “Adventureland,” “The Producers” and “Far From Men.” The movies come from libraries of Lionsgate, as well as from others include MGM, Sony, Miramax and Magnolia Pictures.

Bronikowski spun the Tribeca Shortlist’s relatively low title count (which obviously keeps licensing costs down) as a benefit rather than a drawback: “We don’t have an endless selection, which forces you to keep clicking… We’re focusing on quality from the get-go.”

A key feature for the service are the “shortlists” themselves, compilations of the favorite movies contributed by actors and filmmakers along with video commentary and their recollections about each movie.

The “Shortlisters” at launch include: actors John Lequizamo (“Ice Age” movies, “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar”) and Matthew Modine (“Full Metal Jacket”); filmmaker and producer Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”); actress and model Yaya DeCosta (“The Kids Are All Right,” “America’s Next Top Model”); Tribeca chief creative officer Geoff Gilmore; producer Jason Blum (“Paranormal Activity,” “Whiplash”); fitness trainer and author Bob Harper (“The Biggest Loser”); and Lisa Donovan, actress and co-founder of Maker Studios.

“It’s like a dinner party – you have artists, musicians, filmmakers, athletes – all these people getting together to talk about movies,” said Bronikowski.

Spurlock, for his part, said he eagerly agreed to participate in the Tribeca Shortlist launch. His shortlist, titled “Cult Classics 101”: “Swimming with Sharks,” “The Party” starring Peter Sellers, “Hair,” Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” and “This Is Spinal Tap.”

“Curation is the next logical step in where we are in film distribution, in terms of pointing people to movies they maybe haven’t seen,” he said. “Movies go out to Netflix, YouTube or Vimeo… but nobody knows they’re there. Having a trusted source, from somebody’s taste you agree with, is really valuable.” He added that he’s been a fan of Tribeca since he interned with the organization in the early 1990s as a film student at NYU.

Initially, the SVOD service is accessible only via the web at TribecaShortlist.com or via an iPad app; the company expects to add Amazon Fire TV support in November, followed by Roku and iPhone in December. Tribeca Shortlist, based in New York, has about 20 full-time employees.

Tribeca Shortlist was built in partnership with Saffron Digital, a U.K.-based multiplatform video delivery service provider, as well as Slate Studio, a product design and development firm in L.A.