How to Build a Successful and Lasting Business in the Streaming Market

Streaming company MUBI's CEO spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin to give his insights.

You most likely don't remember the days before Netflix, the massive video streaming company. However, streaming companies have existed long before the days of Netflix. 

Take MUBI for instance, which has been around for 12 years. In the U.K. they're the fourth-biggest streaming company after Netflix, Amazon, and Sky. 

MUBI's CEO, Efe Cakarel, took to TechCrunch Disrupt's Main Stage in Berlin on Thursday to discuss how a young business can succeed in the extremely competitive streaming industry.

RELATED: DISNEY'S NEW STREAMING SERVICE FACES TECHNICAL ISSUES ON LAUNCH DAY

Who is MUBI?

MUBI is a curated movie streaming platform, where every single movie that they put online is handpicked.

How to Build a Successful and Lasting Business in the Streaming Market
MUBI CEO Efe Cakarel at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin. Source: Fabienne Lang/Interesting Engineering

Compare this to Netflix who relies mostly on algorithms to pick movies, a method according to Cakarel that doesn't quite work for films. You end up more frustrated with this incredibly huge amount of content that doesn't quite fit what you want. 

On MUBI's platform you only have one film available a day, and that film is then available to you for 30 days.

Cakarel likens MUBI's movies like "your favorite video store's staff picks." It sounds like the good old blockbuster days, just online.

How well does this method work?

"The first seven to eight years were very challenging," said Cakarel. The company was trying to become the Netflix for independent film but soon realized this was too niche.

How to Build a Successful and Lasting Business in the Streaming Market
Efe Cakarel talking at TechCrunch Berlin, Source: Fabienne Lang/Interesting Engineering

So now they only focus on movies (not TV series or documentaries). According to Cakarel they only show great and pure cinema. So, don't turn to MUBI for any Marvel movies, which are "pure entertainment" according to Cakarel, but not great cinema.

In terms of business models, theirs is slightly different from Netflix. 

Moreover, MUBI only raises $25 million for content, whereas Netflix will spend $13 billion on content.

Cakarel does agree that the streaming world is a very difficult business to crack if you're independent. Especially when you're going up against the likes of Disney and Netflix.

What advice does Cakaral share in order to operate in that field?

A different business model is key, according to Cakarel. 

For example, MUBI only shows 365 movies a year. These are only licensed over a 30-day window, instead of infinitely. So MUBI's business model is different and this works to its advantage.

How to Build a Successful and Lasting Business in the Streaming Market
MUBI CEO at TechCrunch Disrupt, Source: Fabienne Lang/Interesting Engineering

The infrastructure is very different to Netflix's, which allows MUBI to grow a healthy and meaningful business. This is further proven by the fact that they're cashflow positive, a dream for many companies.

Furthermore, MUBI is growing revenue over 70% per year, all from subscriptions.

All in all, it's important to continually grow your brand, and think outside the box.

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Getting new films exclusively available on your platform early on, that's how you take off in the streaming business at the moment, said Cakarel.

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