The Story of a Passion for Movies that became a Multi-Channel Available Video On Demand Success Story

While it might seem daunting to many, competing with Hollywood big-shots may not be for everyone. But, for Gary Delfiner (creator of WatchFreeFlix), it was a risk worth taking. He is the publisher on multiple platforms of genre-sorted AVOD films.

If it seems like every month a new subscription channel from a studio, network or production company pops up offering consumers something that their competitors presumably don’t, that’s because they are. Delfiner has proved that the little guy can prevail when David takes on Goliath. His strategy to build and maintain a profitable and thriving business in movie streaming is simple: be specific, be concise, and, yes, “free is a very good price,”He puts it this way.

“You don’t have to be a studio or a youth player to have a successful business in this environment, but if you pay attention and you take a look at the trends and you start some of your own and you’re committed, which means you put your money where your mouth is, you can make it,”Delfiner stated that. “You also have to understand the ad-supported business and how it works.”

Delfiner was born from traditional domestic and international movie distribution. He ran the home video company of his mentor, a guy you might have heard of — Aaron Spelling. Delfiner left Screen Media Ventures a decade later to manage its digital distribution strategy. He was responsible for the free streaming ad-supported platforms Popcornflix. Frightpix. Familyfunflix. Espanolflix.

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“We had a big library of movies at that company,”Delfiner added. “And, at the time Roku was the only platform out there. Maybe they had 2 million people at the time; now they have 60 million users. But at the end of the day, I was looking at companies like Apple, which was the major player then. And I said to myself, ‘Wait a minute, if they can do that, we have 2000 movies, I’m just going to copy that and see if we can make it work.’”

That was Delfiner’s, as they say, “ah ha moment.” The digital world was clearly germinating, his company had the goods, they had the big resources… and he had an idea. He was responsible for all app developers, as well as app development, on every platform. These included Roku and Samsung, IOS Android, Web,Xbox, Sony Bravia and Roku. He built the company while also learning from the ground up. After five years working at Screen Media, he decided he was ready for his own venture. I Watch Free Flex was born.

He began to purchase movies for distribution that he thought this audience was interested, which he defined as between 18 and 45-year old males. “Not that there weren’t other people watching — obviously women were watching senior citizens were watching baby boomers like me were watching,”He stated. He said that he had a plan to concentrate on one genre at the time. He started with action-thriller and created watch lists, while focusing on his ability get the right content.

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Watch Free Flex was Delfiner’s original channel. Now, in 2022 Delfiner has 13 different genre-specific offshoot channels. They include horror, action thriller and romance. And coming in April, he’ll be launching WatchFreeMysteryFlix. Delfiner averages 1.5 million viewers per month across all WatchFree channels. By the end of 2022, he’s planning to have around 30 channels in total.

“That’s not the huge numbers that, you know, a lot of the studios and the bigger players have, but here’s the really good news about my 1.5 million viewers — I don’t lose viewers; I gain viewers,”Delfiner added. “My viewership has stayed strong, and it grows. And I make sure that I continually give them more and more. I have about 25 vendors, who keep putting up more and more and more movies every quarter. And every month more vendors sign up.”

WatchFreeFlix’s growth is possible because of the constant supply by vendors of new content and the unlimited number genre options. “Here’s the deal: there is an endless source of genres. I won’t say as many grains of sand on the beach, but anything you can think of will be a genre, anything that would aggregate movies under a certain content context. There’s no end to it. again and there. Look at what’s happening all of a sudden because of ‘Squid Game.’ People can’t get enough Korean movies. The second that it happened, I test-launched on my main channel. I just launched British flix and Asian flix. Now I’m gonna see how well that does. And I also need to aggregate enough movies to build a second channel, at least a couple hundred movies to acquire before I can watch a channel. That’s the minimum.”

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It’s all about keeping an eye on trends and staying one step ahead of them, Delfiner said, adding that he’s thinking about a cat channel, an alien channel and a car channel, with movies focusing on each of those genres. “It’s not ‘built it and they will come.’ It’s paying attention, giving what the viewer wants, and making the user interface an easy experience so they can just get right to it.”

Delfiner’s success is built on his love of movies plus the experience and knowledge about the distribution business he has gained for three decades. If you are interested in making that leap of faith, his advice is to do your research.

“This is probably a business that has such great opportunity because there’s no barrier to entry, but you have to study and understand how the business works,”He stated. “You gotta ask questions and you gotta use your instinct and you gotta believe. And here’s a critical point — you gotta put your money where your mouth is. And if you’re not passionate about it, don’t do it.”

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