How Kanopy’s Pay-Per-Play OTT Could Revolutionize Libraries (and Content Owners)

“We are solving a big problem for public libraries, which is engaging their community and maintaining their relevancy,” says founder and CEO Olivia Humphrey

Olivia Humphrey is on a mission to bring Kanopy, an indie film-centric streaming service that she originally launched in Australia, to every library-card holder in the United States. The Kanopy business model is different from other typical “free” OTT services. While VOD platforms such as Popcornflix and Tubi rely on ads to fund content for users, Kanopy members rely on their local libraries to foot the bill.

Instead of paying a monthly fee for the service, participating libraries pay for each movie played by one of its card holders. Libraries pay $2 per play regardless of the movie, according to people familiar with the arrangements. That fee is split 50/50 between Kanopy and the licenser of the film, according to an individual familiar with the business, which Humphrey said was a more generous cut than most OTTs offer content owners.

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