500 Startups Alum MoPix Launches To Help Indie Filmmakers Distribute Movies Direct To Consumers

Being an independent filmmaker is a tough business. Hundreds of indie movies are made each year, but only a few will find distribution. While the Internet is providing a bigger opportunity for filmmakers to market films themselves, most don’t have the tools or resources to get their content online or to distribute direct to fans. Well, MoPix is here to help.

MoPix, which was founded in 2011, has officially launched to help indie filmmakers distribute their movies to consumers, with easy-to-create iOS and Android apps, as well as sales through its own Roku store. It’s also struck a deal with CDBaby, which will give it access to more than 3,000 films that can be converted and sold as independent apps.

The startup provides a platform through which filmmakers can upload their movies and create custom iOS apps, allowing filmmakers to forgo theatrical and DVD distribution and market the films themselves. So why would a filmmaker even want to do this? In part because finding traditional distribution is hard, and the DVD business is no longer all it’s cracked up to be.

MoPix founder Ryan Stoner points out that 5,300 movies got submitted to Sundance last year, but only 232 got shown. Even worse, less than 100 actually got picked up for distribution. Even if you do get distribution, middle men can take up to 80 percent of the sale price, and filmmakers are at their mercy for release dates and pricing. By going through MoPix instead, indie filmmakers get to set their own prices, and collect the vast majority of money that consumers pay for their movies.

The platform comes with a content management system for building mobile apps. It connects to cloud storage systems like Dropbox and Amazon Web Services, allowing filmmakers to easily import files from anywhere. It then walks filmmakers through the process of collecting assets, laying out pages, and organizing content into apps that can be purchased. Users can use the platform to sell those apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play systems. It’s also building support for connected TV devices, like Roku, where users will be able to purchase movies on their own. Filmmakers can set their own price for movies, and Stoner tells me the average price is around $6.99.

For a while, MoPix was offering its service direct to filmmakers, but the CDBaby deal gives it a lot more content to work with. By taking over digital distribution for movies that are part of CDBaby’s FilmBaby division, it has access to more than 2,000 filmmakers who are trying to reach audiences worldwide. That includes more than 3,000 film titles, which it could convert into iPad apps.

Mopix was part of the 500 Startups Accelerator class last fall, and was also a part of Portland-based incubator Upstart Labs. The five-person team is based in Los Angeles.