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The leading VOD operator in independent content is gaining momentum after the entry of Nazca Capital and Seaya Ventures as shareholders. The goal: Conquer new markets

Filmin's VOD Service Grows in Spain, Boosting its International Expansion

Filmin was launched in 2007 with a pioneering spirit, opening a then unexplored path, in an environment in which illegal downloads monopolized the consumption of online audiovisual content. It made the leap to the Portuguese market in 2016.

Along with Movistar Plus and FlixOlé, Filmin is one of the three major national streaming service providers, and the leading provider of independent films, documentaries and series.

In recent years, it has added to its catalog of European films and series, a large list of classic Hollywood films. In 2019, it added around 100 Metro Goldwyn Mayer titles to its subscription service.

After the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, Filmin has been able to enjoy the global VOD boom, increasing its annual turnover from €6 million in 2019 to €14.5 million in 2020. Its market share in Spain is around 7%.

Established as a complementary VOD service to that of the major global operators, the Barcelona-based company is working on its first original production, the fiction series "Doctor Portuondo."

Filmin is currently shooting this six-episode series, produced together with La Chica de la Curva, which will premiere in October and will be the first title of the Filmin Original label, which will group all of the platform's original productions from now on.

Jaume Ripoll, director of content and development and one of Filmin’s founders, talks to audiovisualfromspain.com.

-One year after the outbreak of the pandemic, how has Filmin’s market position changed?

We have strengthened our position at several levels. As a platform, we have managed to get a new audience to discover us; also as an ally of different film partners -among them, festivals that have collaborated with us to host part of their programming and movie theaters where we have premiered films directly-, and as content generators, participating both in productions by other companies and producing our first original series.

-Filmin has declared profits since 2018, which requires by law reinvesting 5% of turnover in production. Is this the main reason why they take this step?

-There are two reasons: Governmental obligation on the one hand, and on the other, a step of maturity that we needed to take to become a content generation entity. Production is undoubtedly a stage of growth for any streaming platform such as ours.

-Can you define the type of original content you focus on?

-We want it to be content that fits in with the way we understand cinema and series, with the desire not to seem repetitive, a clone of what others are producing. The vision will be singular, it will depend on the creator who develops the content, so that spectators will have the sensation of watching something that has little resemblance to what they have seen before. This does not imply the search for originality per se, but the search for certain differentiating elements.

-What is the production plan?

-This year, two or three productions. We will be cautious because we are very aware of our size, which is very modest but significant, although not comparable to that of multinational companies. This should lead us to be ambitious in what we want to say but prudent in the volume of productions we can take on. The evolution of 2021 will determine the amount of original content that we will be able to develop in the 2021-2023 period. Not everything has to be fiction series. We are with a couple of Spanish films to announce shortly, in addition to the series we already know about. For now, we are considering co-productions with national companies, but in some cases, there may also be international participation.

-What does the entry of Nazca Capital and Seaya Ventures as shareholders implies for Filmin?

-It is a step of reaffirmation, of confidence, to be able to carry out those objectives necessary to face the challenges of the brutal competition around us. The market is not overloaded just yet, however, is in danger of getting overloaded. Therefore, to maintain your position or expand your audience, you need to strengthen communication, content and technology. This requires an investment and it is important to have partners who share the company's editorial line and want to add their business expertise and resources to expand the subscriber base.

-Do you think that beyond Spain and Portugal, there are other markets where Filmin may spark interest?
 
-There are certainly other markets in Europe and Latin America where Filmin would be very well received. The question here is, how we can reach them, with which travel partners and with what investment. This is the approach we are taking internally. Once we have resolved this issue, we will make the corresponding decisions. However, we surely won’t rush into anything.
We are a veteran company in these matters and we know that the key to Filmin's success is the understanding of the ground it treads on, of the markets reached by the company. It is key to establish close relationships with distributors, festivals, schools and new creators in each territory. In any case, going beyond Spain and Portugal is an approach for 2022.

-What role do you seek to play in these new territories?

-Complement large global operators, as in Spain. Filmin wants to continue to maintain this identity spirit because it has generated trust from different types of subscribers. The key is to offer diversity, but with consistency and coherence. And be quick in decision making. These would undoubtedly be Filmin's main strengths when it comes to reaching other markets.

-What rights will you be able to exercise outside Spain and Portugal?
 
-Of our rights, a few, that is clear. But we must take into account how Filmin was born in Spain and Portugal: with the complicity, trust and in some cases, the investment of national distributors. Why can't this formula be replicated in other territories? All platforms are competitors, not because of size, but because subscribers get home and decides which platform they want to watch, and so in a way we compete with them. We need to give reasons to the subscriber so that they continue to trust Filmin.
 

-Where do you see Filmin in five years' time?
 
-The objective is to consolidate this commitment, which is not that easy. Sometimes we take a lot of things for granted and in this environment, everything changes quickly. The world in general, and the world of platforms in particular, has changed tremendously in a short time. Our key is to bet on this effort and this very clear identity position. And I believe that in Spain, we still have many new customers to conquer. In Portugal, the growth margin is more significant. They see us there as we were seen in Spain five years ago, not as openly as they do now.