New York City Public Libraries Drop Kanopy Free Movie-Streaming Service

Kanopy suffered a blow with the decision by New York City’s three public library systems — collectively the biggest library system in the U.S., with some 210 branches across the Big Apple — to drop the free movie-streaming service, citing high costs.

As of July 1, the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn and Queens library systems will no longer offer Kanopy. Each of the three institutions cited price increases as the reason for eliminating the service, which curates documentaries, indie and foreign films, classics, and kids programming.

Under Kanopy’s model, libraries pay approximately $2 per movie streamed by a patron (with a “view” consisting of at least 30 seconds viewed) and the company pays 50% of the fees back to content owners. Kanopy forecasts usage over a year and caps spending at a certain level for a given partner. After verifying their status as a library patron and creating a Kanopy account, users have been able to stream movies anywhere on smartphones, PCs and smart TVs.

“While providing access to Kanopy streaming is no longer financially sustainable for NYPL, it remains our mission to provide the resources that meet the broadest range of needs possible,” the New York Public Library, which operates in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, said in a statement.

Similarly, the Brooklyn Public Library said in a tweet about the decision to drop Kanopy, “Unfortunately, rising costs made it unsustainable. With careful consideration, we decided to use our resources on more in-demand collections like audiobook & e-book licenses.”

In an email Monday to users, Kanopy CEO Olivia Humphrey wrote that the company was “disappointed” but that it understood that “New York City’s libraries’ current priorities lie with other programs that also advance their mission.”

“We have enjoyed furthering the New York City libraries’ mission of providing open access to knowledge through our diverse and exclusive slate of 19,000+ thought-provoking films,” Humphrey wrote.

According to the New York Public Library, about 25,000 of its patrons (around 1% percent of the system’s 2 million cardholders) used Kanopy. The Queens Public Library said only about 6,000 of its 1 million cardholders used the service and that Kanopy was planning to raise the subscription rate to about $125,000 annually.

Kanopy’s catalog includes films licensed from HBO Documentaries, A24, Bleecker Street, the Criterion Collection, German non-profit The Goethe-Institut and San Francisco MOMA. Titles available on Kanopy include Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird,” Matt Ross’ “Captain Fantastic,” Oscar-nominated “Loving Vincent,” Federico Fellini’s “8 1/2,” and Taika Waititi’s “Boy,” according to the company’s site.

As of last month, San Francisco-based Kanopy said it was available to more than 50 million public library users and more than 3,000 college and university libraries across the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K.

Founded in 2008, Kanopy last year received an investment from private-equity firm L Squared Capital Partners.

More Digital

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

  • Crypt-TV-Facebook

    Facebook Signs Deal With Crypt TV for Slate of Five Horror Series

    Crypt TV, the digital studio founded by Eli Roth and Jack Davis and backed by Jason Blum, expanded its deal with Facebook, inking a content partnership to create a slate of five horror and monster-themed series exclusively for Facebook Watch. For Facebook Watch, it’s one of the first deals for a full slate of content [...]

  • Elaine Paul - Amazon Studios

    Elaine Paul Exits as Hulu CFO to Join Amazon Studios

    Elaine Paul has departed Hulu after nearly six years as chief financial officer to join Amazon Studios as CFO/VP of finance. She started at the ecommerce company’s studio division on July 15, reporting to Dan Jedda, VP of digital, advertising and corporate development finance for Amazon, a company rep said. Paul’s move to Amazon, first [...]

  • BritBox to Roll Out in the

    'Downton Abbey' and 'The Office' Heading to BritBox as Streamer Unveils U.K. Launch

    British broadcasters the BBC and ITV have formally agreed to launch their joint streaming service, BritBox, in the U.K. in the fourth quarter of 2019. It will be priced at £5.99 ($7.50) per month, making it the same price as the cheapest Netflix subscription in the U.K. ITV will control BritBox, holding a 90% stake. [...]

  • Vobile - ZEFR acquisition - Yangbin

    Zefr Sells Its Copyright-Flagging and YouTube Channel-Management Businesses to Vobile for $90 Million

    Vobile Group, a video protection and measurement company, announced a deal to acquire Zefr’s RightsID copyright-management and ChannelID YouTube channel-management businesses for about $90 million. According to the companies, Zefr’s RightsID and ChannelID together generated over $40 million in revenue in 2018 and were profitable. The deal stands to more than triple the revenue for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content