How One Startup Dared Enter A Monopolized Market Through Appealing To A Niche Audience
Yola Robert

Netflix has dominated the entertainment OnDemand market with Hulu and Amazon Prime following not too far behind. While this space seems impenetrable as these giants of companies occupy the current media space, FlixFling has dared to try.

In 2010, Brad Heffler, Chairman of FlixFling, sold his financial company he had founded and began looking for something interesting and profitable to do with the next phase of his life. Heffler was introduced to Tom Ashley who owned a local production company and DVD distribution business that was looking for an investor to give him the resources to take his company to the next level. Together, they formed the streaming platform, FlixFling. Like Netflix, FlixFling is a movie streaming service, but differs as it also provides music as well as films considered “hidden gems”.

About six months after Ashley and Heffler became partners, they attended the American Film Market (AFM) in November, 2009. The primary objective was to acquire distribution rights to movies for their new service. However, they had recently created the FlixFling app and at each meeting it was mentioned how FlixFling could serve as a new type of movie distribution platform. Evidently, it created a buzz which caught the attention of the Hollywood Reporter. The article written about FlixFling in the Hollywood Reporter attracted the movie industry into their new platform. “Dozens of movie studios and production companies who wouldn't previously meet with us ‘broke down our door’ to speak to us. We then realized we were on to something special” says Heffler.

When DVD sales started to decline at the same time more people started watching movies OnDemand using their cable systems, Ashley and Heffler recognized that the typical cable model could be improved. Due to the rise of mobile devices, FlixFling would enable users to watch a variety of content anytime, anyplace and anywhere at the fraction of the cost of a monthly cable bill.

FlixFling spent the first several years in business building the technology platform to sustain a variety of devices, deliver content reliability and produce an enjoyable user experience. “Being in the same space as Netflix, it is vital FlixFling’s technology is seamless to the customer. Many companies have tried to compete, but have failed because their technology and user experience are not the same caliber as the bigger guys,” says Heffler.

By 2015 the $20-million-dollar platform was hosting a variety of mainstream and independent movies. Relationships with movie studios, filmmakers and networks have fast tracked FlixFling’s scalability. Their recent partnership with Amazon Prime as an add on subscription service has not only been profitable, but a great branding platform for the company.

FlixFling’s current demographic consists of a wide range of movie lovers but Heffler believes it has a special appeal for fans of indie and niche content that other services have overlooked. “Netflix is obviously the 800 pound gorilla and many people ask what FlixFling has that they don’t. We have made a big effort to get great indie content while other services are deciding not to support independents. In addition, besides our subscription service, we have a pay as you go service which contains many new releases which won't be available on Netflix for at least a year or longer. Industry statistics have shown that most consumers like having multiple services where they can put together a bundle of different content from more than one provider. We think our content is a good compliment to what Netflix offers without as much overlap as some other companies competing with it,” claims Heffler.

The keys to survival for FlixFling in the midst of the billion dollar companies, has been continuing to add a variety of content, strong relationships with dozens of studios and strategic partners. Their latest partnership was with Music Choice and FlixFling will be amongst the first streaming service to connect with them. Users can now enjoy over 5,000 movies, 20,000 music videos and 100,000 songs that Music Choice has integrated into FlixFling.

“FlixFling is gaining a competitive advantage adding one of the largest music services to its already robust movie offering without increasing our low $7.99 monthly price. At a cost which is lower than virtually any other service which offers only movies or music, you get both with FlixFling. In addition, we are on a mission to keep adding great exclusive content which can only be watched on FlixFling,” says Heffler.

The company is aiming to expand their music, movie and TV offerings while hoping to soon create their own original content. In order to help accomplish these goals, FlixFling is seeking outside capital for the first time. “We want to continue expanding our current offerings while at the same time making sure we are equipped to accelerate growth and scalability as new technology emerges,” Heffler asserts.

FlixFling has proven that there is room for compelling niche services in a near monopolized market. You can expect to see more of FlixFling on your smartphone, Smart TV, game console, computer or tablet. Be sure to subscribe and stay up to date on all the news at Flixfling.com.