Movie-streaming site Film Ahoy has launched in the U.K., offering independent titles for free with ads, or for £1 ($1.25) without. Its backers are promising rights holders a 50% split of sales.
British filmmaker Dean Fisher of Bow Street Media is behind the platform, which was originally set to launch in 2017 after being announced at the AFM. Technical difficulties prevented it rolling out until now, but the service is now live. The launch lineup stretches to about 200 films spanning various genres including horror, sci-fi, action, and comedy. Fisher’s own Luke Goss-starrer, “Interview With a Hitman,” is one of the action movies on the service alongside other titles including Bruce Lee film “Super Dragon,” “City Rats” with Danny Dyer, and “The Man Inside,” starring David Harewood.
Fisher said there is a gap in the market for an ad-supported film offering. “There are so many streaming services at the moment and no one knows which ones are going to survive. But AVOD can be an alternative to the subscription models out there,” he told Variety. “There are only so many subscription services people can afford, and some people can’t afford any, so there needs to be an alternative, and that’s what I have tried to create.”
He said that Film Ahoy is good for the independent film business. “For filmmakers it is very difficult to secure distribution,” he said. “Once you have gone through iTunes and the different windows, there are not many other places to get revenue. In a way we want to create an additional market.”
In terms of the deal for rights holders, Film Ahoy will share revenues but is not offering minimum guarantees. The films on the platform are not carried exclusively. Fisher said his aim was to reach 1 million views a month in the first year of operation.
Some indie producers have been burned working with emerging platforms, but Fisher, who is wrapping on “Break” with Rutger Hauer, said his being a producer means that’s not the case with his platform. “Because I’m a filmmaker myself I will make sure the filmmaker gets a good deal,” he said.
Looking ahead, the Film Ahoy founder said he would like to work directly with filmmakers as well as picking up titles from sales agents. “What I’d like eventually is more filmmakers to come forward and put their titles directly on Film Ahoy. Some might not have sales agents, but might have a really good film,” he said. “That’s something filmmakers should do more often – put the films out themselves on platforms.”