Efe Cakarel • Founder of MUBI VoD service
MUBI boasts 1300 titles and counting
by Annika Pham
Turkish entrepreneur Efe Cakarel, founder and CEO of VoD platform MUBI (former The Auteurs), is travelling the world to promote his VoD service for film buffs, available since November 3 to millions of PlayStation 3 owners around the world, including all over Europe. Around 400 classics and auteur films by Quentin Tarantino, the Coen Brothers, Lars Von Trier, Roman Polanski and Jean-Luc Godard, among others, can be streamed online for a flat rate subscription of £9.99/€12.99 a month or £2.99/€3.59 for a seven-day rental of one film (depending on the territory).
MUBI’s key partners include Celluloid Dreams, Cinéart Distribution , Martin Scorsese’s The World Collection and local distributors such as Bac Films, Diaphana in France and NonStop Entertainment in Scandinavia. Cakarel spoke to Cineuropa.
Cineuropa: How has your VoD service developed over the last two-three years and evolved from The Auteurs to MUBI?
Efe Cakarel: We have evolved tremendously in the last two years. We've seen our dream of being a truly international platform for cinema start to fulfill itself with increasingly localized offerings in specific countries around the world. Now with our expansion onto the PlayStation 3 platform, we are crystallizing the fact that MUBI isn't just one offering in one place, but many offerings of great cinema all around the world. The name change goes hand in hand with that. We love our original name and remain true to its vision, but we needed a name that anyone could say!
Who do you cater to and what makes you different from other VoD platforms?
We cater to those who love cinema. That can be a hardcore film lover or someone merely disappointed by the paltry offerings of his or her local multiplex. MUBI is about great cinema, new and old, mainstream and obscure. What differentiates us from other platforms is our care for films – we individually pick each and every title in our library to create a growing collection of the best independent, international and classic cinema); our international audience – we are showing hundreds of movies in every country in the world; our social network, which helps audiences share their movie activity and recommendations amongst their friends, providing a mechanism to help discover new films; and finally our editorial coverage in our news magazine The Daily Notebook, which provides daily roundups of what's happening today in cinema, as well as reviews, criticism and interviews.
How many films can be streamed on MUBI and as a social networking media, how many hits do you get on a daily or monthly basis?
We have over 1300 total films available on MUBI and growing. What is available varies from country to country, but to provide an example we have over 400 films available in Sweden. MUBI.com has about six million page views per month.
What are the concrete advantages for rights owners to having their films on MUBI and how do you see VoD evolving in the mid-term?
Putting a film on our platform accomplishes two tasks: it provides additional revenue and a great deal more exposure, a greater awareness and visibility. In terms of evolution, I think that more and more rights holders will see VOD as a viable platform for the two above mentioned benefits, revenue and market awareness. The key for them will be to target platforms where their films will do best. For instance, Iron Man 2 will not do best on MUBI, but the Palme d'Or-winning film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives [+see also:
film profile] will, as will a Quentin Tarantino film.
What are the biggest challenges you face today: the difficulty to access films from rights holders or strict window releases in Europe?
The difficulty is that nearly every individual film is handled by a different rights holder in every individual territory. So while the first step for us is identifying what wonderful films we want to show on the platform, the hard part is finding out who owns them and where we can show them. This is compounded by the general fear or ignorance many in the industry have about VOD, which results in general conservatism about distributing online, when in reality all we want to do is drum up more awareness of, interest in, and views of their films.
Do you see your service evolving as a cross media funding platform for independent filmmakers as well?
We would love to see this happen. We have a strong amateur filmmaking community on the site, and segueing from that into funding and/or producing for the digital platform would be natural at some point in the future.
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