[Editor's Note] Milos Bezanov is a second year student currently studying International Politics at King’s College London.
At first glance, Moviepilot seems a lot like a magazine. Founded by entrepreneurs Tobi Bauckhage, Jon Handschin and Benjamin Krause in 2011, it is an offshoot of it's 2007 German counterpart. Like a magazine, it links people looking for a specific thing (clothes, music, gossip, games...in this case films) with the latest movies, trailers and gossip going on in the film industry. The way they make money is also just like a magazine; “ We are paid by the studios we work with, for the sponsored material, and for the analytics data we feed back to them for their campaign”. It's so simple, in fact, that it doesn't tell the whole story. Magazines can't provide the means for editors, consumers and filmmakers to interact, discover and learn from each other. This is the unique aspect to Moviepilot; and it took eight years, two businesses and an extra addition to the team in the form of Benjamin Krause to get to this point.
Suppose you're surfing the net and you find a movie trailer by accident. The film isn’t out yet, but it's amazing. You want to find out everything you possibly can about that movie; you want to see the other trailers, you want to find out it's release date, the actors/cast. Usually you'd have to go to many different sites to find even a fraction of this info, but Moviepilot solves this problem whilst taking it even a step further. It's a place where you can discover the latest films, and then subscribe to it, constantly getting updates about what's going on, and talk to people about it. You get insight from fellow fans, latest trailers and pre screening opportunities direct from the studios. It's not just a platform that bombards you with a ton of information, it's real time, you can talk to people, share opinions, and pick up information much more quickly. The more people there are on the site the better, but what’s so special about Moviepilot? You have websites like Ain’t It Cool News who do the same thing, so what's their angle?
The truth is Moviepilot are the first to directly involve studios in the process and make that link; “ If you take a look at the movie industry, it's extremely dependent on the first week...If you don't succeed in that time..you don't have a chance (to recoup investment)”. Connecting the audience with the studios early allows for more effective advertising; you find your target audience early, can begin marketing to that audience, and have access to fan forums potentially informing your marketing campaigns. This benefits independent filmmakers on tight budgets “the more limitation you have to the budget, the more effective you have to be doing your marketing”. This idea would never have happened without the combined professional experience of the individuals behind it; “ traditional methods for marketing films are somewhat archaic and in need of a serious refresh... led us to cooking up the original Moviepilot.de.” Added to this, working in social media also gave them the tools to make this idea a reality
Clearly it's been working for them. They have four of the major six LA studios on board, and secured $7 million series B investment from DFJ Esprit May this year. This is on top of continued investment from VC funds T-Venture, Grazia Equity and VC Fund Creative. But what's next for Moviepilot? They've already planned to move part of their base of operations to LA- the other part remaining in Berlin, and push Moviepilot even further West. Once there where they will take it is anybody's guess, but a clue may lie in Tobi's original motivation for starting out; “ As an economist I have always been obsessed with the rules of supply and demand and the impact technology data would have on them”. It's already clear that Moviepilot has transformed the ability of consumers to access supply, affecting demand. The only thing left for Bauckhause and his team is the “impact” part. Exactly how big an impact is hard to tell, but if previous experience is anything to go by, sky's the limit.