Perth-based tech outfit Demand Film is pushing into North America, landing a deal that will see its platform available on 20,000 cinema screens across the continent.
The start-up, led by managing director David Doepel, is described as the ‘Airbnb of cinema’, letting consumers book a film screening on low yield nights and selling tickets to their friends and family.
“Our business model is now averaging 129 people per movie screening on quiet nights such as Mondays and Wednesday, when cinemas would be lucky to get even 10 per cent of that number,” Mr Doepel said.
“Furthermore, these tickets are being sold at premium prices, not at a discounted rate.”
According to Mr Doepel his business is capitalising on a trend of ‘event cinema’, with customers now interested in something more than the traditional cinema-going experience.
He estimates the theoretical limit for top-line revenue in Australia in the core business of event/crowdsourced cinema is about $12 million, and the global business is at least ten to fifteen times that.
Revenue for the company was $1.2m in FY15-16, with Demand Film on track for similar numbers in Australia this current year.
Mr Doepel said he’s projected quadrupling in DY17-18 based on increased market size.
“We have been able to use a combination of reference accounts in Australia and New Zealand (Event, Hoyts, Village) and now UK (Odeon/UCI) to secure access to almost 20,000 screens in 1700 cinemas in North America,” he said.
“Andrew Hazelton, a director of the company who is based in LA, has been clocking up the air miles visiting the North American cinema chain headquarters and presenting our value proposition.”
The executive said his company is now booking screenings at Cineplex in Canada and AMC, Regal and Cinemark in the US as well as a number of smaller chains and independents.
“No other company in the cinema on demand space is genuinely operating in more than one market let alone half a dozen,” he said.
“Demand Film’s initial offerings in North America are all either Australian or New Zealand films, and we are also working with filmmakers while they are making their films and suggesting ways to internationalise their titles.”
For the North American launch Demand Film will feature a dozen films including Le Ride, Baxter and Me, and disability rights documentary Defiant Lives.