Indie movie distributor SnagFilms is preparing a new, more social user experience, and is ready to launch that experience in private beta. The startup’s new website, at SnagFilms .com, will launch later this summer to enable viewers to watch — and share! — free, ad-supported indie flicks with like-minded individuals.
After working as a distributor for movies on a number of video-on-demand platforms, SnagFilms rolled out a platform online for watching independent films that supported primarily by advertising. Those movies are available through your typical web browser, as well as through mobile apps on iOS and Android devices.
Today, SnagFilms has about 4 million viewers, who have watched thousands of independent films on its web and mobile properties. The new website is designed to get even more people on the platform and watching and sharing — at least at some point. For now, the new experience will be limited to just about 1,000 viewers. Lame, I know.
But what can those lucky few people expect? Well, a bigass picture of a featured movie on the front page, for one thing. Some editorial notes. Oh yeh, and then some more editorially curated videos below the fold, also with editorial notes. The idea is to show users awesome movies that they might not know about, which are already deemed to be pretty awesome by the SnagFilms editorial crew. But that’s not all — there’s also a recommendations engine to enable users to see movies that they’ll probably like.
In addition to all, that, the new SnagFilms.com is built to be a whole lot more social. That means users are gonna have profiles that others can see, and the site will keep track of what you’ve viewed and what your connections have viewed and maybe through all of that get ideas for even more free, ad-supported movies you might want to watch. All of this is opt-in, of course, with detailed privacy settings so maybe not everyone knows that you just watched Lust, Caution over and over for like, six days.
In addition to just regular users, people will be able to follow critics and reviewers and generally people who have been deemed to know more about movies than they do. But if they think that they know a lot, there’s also the ability to socially share into other socially shareable networks.
Anyway, hopefully since you’re a TechCrunch reader and you’re way ahead of the curve on these things, you’ll become one of the lucky 1,000. If not, don’t sweat it too much — SnagFilms.com will be available to everyone this summer, the company says. And then at some point it’ll become available on other platforms — like the company’s mobile apps.
SnagFilms now has 50 employees, after raising $6 million from investors such as Ted Leonsis, New Enterprise Associates, Comcast Ventures, Terry Semel, and CNF Investments, an affiliate of Clark Enterprises.