SnagFilms snags more films, lands on more devices

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Earlier this year, after online documentary distributor SnagFilms raised $10 million, we asked CEO Rick Allen what he was going to do with that money. His plans came down to two things: more content and wider distribution. The company is making good on both those plans, as the company is announcing its first slate of fictional titles, as well as availability on more connected devices and multichannel video operators.

SnagFilms launched as the go-to place for ad-supported documentaries online, but is making a big push into indie films. As a result, it’s adding titles like Too Young To Die, Women Talking Dirty, P.U.N.K.S. and Teknolust. It’s also adding a bunch of classic films like Josef Von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel and Luis Bunel’s Un Chien Andalou, as well as indie classics from directors like Richard Linklater (Slacker) and Wong Kar-Wai (Happy Together). It’s also expanding its international content, now with movies from six continents.

Meanwhile, the company making a big push on the platform and distribution side of things. SnagFilms already had video-viewing apps for the iPad, (s aapl) Boxee Box and Roku, but it’s taking a big step forward by announcing that it will also be available on Microsoft Xbox’s (s MSFT) Zune Marketplace, Samsung Media Hub for Samsung smartphones and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Using Adobe’s Air platform, (s ADBE) Snagfilms also can be viewed on a number of Android mobile phones and tablets, (s GOOG) as well as the Blackberry PlayBook. (s RIMM)

But the strategy is more than just expanding its presence on connected devices; it’s also adding new sales channels for transactional titles. Snagfilms titles are being added to DirecTV’s VOD platform, (s DTV) as well as Vudu (s WMT) and Amazon (s AMZN) online VOD options. That distribution is on top of availability through Comcast (s CMCSA) and Verizon (s VZ) VOD channels, as well as an existing online sales channel through Apple’s iTunes.

Finally, SnagFilms has a new website, which Allen told us will increase discoverability of its movies, while also providing more social sharing features. The site was developed by David Gang, who was in charge of product development at AOL (s AOL) from 1998 through 2005.

With new content and new distribution partners, SnagFilms hopes to boost sales of its transactional titles, which is a bit of a shift in business model. After all, SnagFilms was originally launched as a place to find free, ad-supported documentaries. That said, the presence of a new distribution player, particularly for independent fictional titles, isn’t exactly a bad thing.

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Tom Panskey

Cant believe SNAG is moving into Fiction now. I thought both them and Culture Unplugged were pretty well positioned in Documentary world. Fiction is difficult, and costly move. Focus on documentary was the best thing they had, their competitor is thrice as large (culture unplugged) in the documentary space in terms of content and reach, this will just mean Culture Unplugged will rule the doc. space…

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