Viddsee, a streaming platform for independent short films in Asia, and Discovery Networks announced a content partnership today. The agreement is noteworthy because this is not only the biggest deal of its kind that Singapore-based Viddsee has inked so far, but also marks the first time Discovery’s content, including documentaries, will be available online in Asia.
Co-founder Derek Tan says the platform will start streaming two Discovery series today and add a new one every month. Viddsee was launched in 2012 to give filmmakers in Southeast Asia, who usually only got to screen their work at film festivals, an online distribution channel. The startup has raised a total of $2.3 million.
In keeping with Viddsee’s mission, the first Discovery documentaries available on the platform will be from independent filmmakers. Part of Discovery First Time Filmmakers series, the two films that launched today are “Singapore Stories” and “Super Japan.”
Since both stream films, Netflix might seem like an obvious Viddsee competitor, especially after its worldwide launch in January. Viddsee sets itself apart, however, by showcasing short films and focusing on content discovery and social media marketing in order to make sure they actually get an audience. For example, the company runs a site called Viddsee Buzz that uses Buzzfeed-style clickbait headlines to promote films.
“Although our content are not household brand names, our content has reached millions worldwide because of the positioning for a social, mobile audience and also the conversations that surround the content,” Tan tells TechCrunch.
Its content distribution and marketing model allows Viddsee to stand out from Southeast Asian companies that compete more directly with Netflix, like iFlix and HOOQ, as well as platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, where independent filmmakers often post their work. One film, “The Herd” by Melanie Light, got 90,000 views on Vimeo—but wracked up over one million views in less than a month after debuting on Viddsee.
Tan says Viddsee is now working on more content discovery deals and may also team up with Discovery to produce original content for the platform.