Special provides filmmakers and distributors with a simple, state-of-the-art solution for streaming and monetizing their projects. The platform had its beta launch last week.
Co-founders Sam Lucas and Paul Burton secured funding for the venture in Spring of 2020 through a $2.3M series seed round led by Next Frontier Capital. After building custom VOD platforms for clients through their former business Triple Tree Software, Lucas and Burton attracted venture capital from both experienced software and entertainment investors looking to bring more efficiency to the process of marketing and distributing entertainment.
Notable investors in the start-up include 30WEST, the investment and advisory firm which owns significant stakes in film production and distribution studios NEON and Altitude. 30WEST is also known for packaging and financing acclaimed feature and TV projects, including Sundance break-out Late Night and this summer’s Netflix phenomenon “Tiger King.”
30WEST commented: “There is an obvious, growing need for more innovation across the film and television landscape, particularly in the areas of marketing and distribution. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to support Special in advancing their vision for empowering artists and distributors with technology which addresses this need.”
Former CEO of NBC Universal, Steve Burke and acclaimed film producer and venture capitalist David Fialkow of General Catalyst are also early investors in Special.
Special equips those who may not otherwise have access to major media buyers or streaming platforms with the ability to effectively and professionally distribute and stream their work, controlling all key elements of their releases from initial release timing and pricing to their long- term destiny.
As major streamers shift focus away from independent film in favor of star-driven TV, and theater chains and film festivals go unnoticeably-virtual in today’s COVID swept environment, Special offers a venue for independent creators to monetize their work while reaching a global audience.
In 2020 alone, the SVOD industry is expected to exceed $50B in global revenue, growing 10% year over year and boasting 880 million current viewers. Consumption is expected to reach 1.3 billion viewers and $85B in global revenues by 2025.
Special has granted private beta access to over 1,000 independent studios, filmmakers, and video creators testing the platform before its launch. Publishers on the platform retain full ownership of their media properties and the service is free of exclusive licensing contracts and advertisers.
Filmmakers, producers, and independent distributors can sign up to publish on Special at specialproject.io.