On the heels of a content partnership with media giant Discovery Networks, Singapore-based online video platform Viddsee has added another collaborator to its portfolio: roKKi, which provides inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi services to budget carrier AirAsia.
Under the partnership, Viddsee will showcase ten Southeast Asian short films every month on its new channel within AirAsia’s inflight entertainment portal, rokki.com. Passengers can access the channel for free on their mobile phones and tablets onboard Wi-Fi equipped flights, starting from this month.
Viddsee, which has raised $2.3 million in funding to date, is a web and mobile app platform for streaming Asian short films, with the aim of nurturing the regional short film industry. Unlike other video-sharing sites, submitted films have to go through a selection process to be featured.
For Viddsee co-founder Derek Tan, the deal with roKKi is yet another step forward in building up the company’s brand image through traditional distribution channels.
“This collaboration is positioned for exposure, to introduce ASEAN short films to an ASEAN audience,” he said. “At this stage, it’s about expanding our marketing channel to share our films outside of our online and mobile app channels, to new audiences.”
Last year, Viddsee registered more than 2 million active users, with over 70 per cent of traffic driven by mobile phone users.
Working with distributors within the airline industry can be useful in expanding this reach, according to Leong Pui Yee, who manages the visual arts non-profit Objectifs. Leong and her team had previously worked with Singapore Airlines to feature local short films inflight.
“The challenge with online platforms is that there is so much content out there, and it is difficult to stand out from the rest,” she said. “Even if you put films online, many people don’t realise that they are actually out there. And so it’s always good to have a different kind of outreach, like through airlines and other distributors.”
Noting that partnerships between short filmmakers and distributors are traditionally initiated by film festivals and film-related institutions, Leong added that Viddsee’s efforts could help the filmmakers “maximise options for distribution”.
Viddsee has existing content partnerships with Yahoo, The Huffington Post and YouTube. In May, it began hosting full-length documentaries from Discovery, marking the first time the television network’s content can be streamed online in Asia.
The company is currently exploring sponsored content as a revenue model. They are looking at linking filmmakers and brands together. The three-year-old startup has been working with clients such as insurer AIA to commission short films that can engage the brand’s customers while entertaining audiences.
“What works online today is good local storytelling, and monetising that is about involving brands in the whole process,” Viddsee’s Tan said. “We’ve done a few [sponsored content] campaigns which have been successful, we hope to scale that up a bit more in future.”
“We’re not just a YouTube for short films,” he added. “Ultimately, it’s about building a digital ecosystem for filmmakers to create content that can also pay the bills.”
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