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Cinedigm Acquires Fandor, Plans to Reboot Indie-Film Streaming Service

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Todd Spangler
·2 min read
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Cinedigm continues its rollup of niche streaming brands: The company has acquired the assets of Fandor, a subscription-streaming service with a catalog of 4,600 films that has been in hibernation mode for the last two years.

In late 2018, Fandor laid off nearly all of its employees and reorganized as a new entity that was seeking a buyer for the Fandor assets.

Terms of Cinedigm’s acquisition of Fandor aren’t being disclosed. In announcing the deal, Cinedigm said it believes the relaunched Fandor service could top 1 million subscribers “within the next 24-30 months” with a focus on rapid global expansion and distribution.

Cinedigm will continue to offer the service to subscribers without ads and also plans to offer a free, ad-supported on-demand tier for Fandor as well as a linear streaming channel. In addition, Cinedigm plans to beef up Fandor’s offerings with some of the 7,000-plus films titles in the Cinedigm library as well as relaunch the service’s apps.

Cinedigm’s pickup of Fandor comes after it bought The Film Detective, a content distributor and streaming channel company focused on classic film and TV programming, via a deal that closed in December 2020. Cinedigm said it plans to relaunch Keyframe, Fandor’s online publication dedicated to the art of cinema. Phil Hopkins, president of Cinedigm’s Film Detective division, will oversee Fandor and Keyframe, with the goal of relaunching the service in the coming quarter.

The Fandor acquisition “solidifies Cinedigm’s position as the leading global streaming company for independent films,” Chris McGurk, Cinedigm’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. He said Fandor “will immediately benefit from our streaming distribution muscle, huge library of independent films, Matchpoint technology, cost savings and infrastructure and synergies with our wide portfolio of enthusiast streaming channels.”

Fandor’s principal investor was former Facebook exec Chris Kelly, who first took a stake in the indie-film streaming service in 2011. Kelly, who is co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, was forced to restructure the Fandor business after failing to land new financing to support its operations. “While we have had notable successes, the business challenges of the space we have operated in are immense,” Kelly said in a statement in December 2018.

“The founders of Fandor had the right idea, launching very early in the streaming growth cycle while still establishing a strong and resilient brand and viewer base,” said Erick Opeka, Cinedigm’s chief strategy officer and president of Cinedigm Networks. “I can’t think of a streaming service that is truer to our mission than Fandor.”

Media consultant Charles Theiss served as an adviser for Cinedigm’s acquisition of the Fandor assets.

Two months before its restructuring and mass layoff in 2018, Fandor launched a special discounted offer targeted at former customers of FilmStruck, the classic-movie streaming service WarnerMedia had shut down to focus on HBO Max.