This is not a drill. There’s a free, online, streaming service that gives users access to 30,000 titles… oh and did we mention it’s free?
If Netflix is the big mainstream conglomerate, with our favourite blockbuster titles, than you can think of relative new-comer Kanopy as its cooler indie little sister. The Perth-born, Silicon Valley-raised startup finds its niche in art house, indie and documentary titles.
However, if you’re not a fan of independent film and small-scale doccos, there’s a good mix of fan-favourites in there too.
The Kanopy collection boasts a comprehensive selection of classic titles, like the ones that always make it onto the ‘films you need to watch in your lifetime’ lists. Think Charade (1963) and His Girl Friday (1940), mixed with contemporary hits like Brooklyn (2015), The Dressmaker (2015) and Carol (2015).
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So how do you use the service? There’s a catch. Founder Olivia Humphrey tells the Sydney Morning Herald that what started as a university-only platform has expanded into libraries across the USA and Melbourne, and libraries in Western Australia and New South Wales will soon have the service, too.
You will need to find a library hosting the service, and while members won’t have to pay to use it, they will only be given five titles to watch per month, at least for now.
Kanopy also gives an opportunity for smaller films and production companies to distribute their films, with 50% of its revenue going to the rights holder, totaling up to $80,000 a year.
“We want to extend our users’ range but the big challenge is getting people to press play on the films users have never heard of,” says Humphrey.
“When they do, they’re the ones that get me really excited.”
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