EXCLUSIVE: Clix, a privately funded, mobile-focused guide to the ever-expanding world of film and TV programming available to stream, has surpassed 6 million monthly unique users nearly a year after its launch.
The free app, which went live about 10 months ago, is now available via more than 80 distribution points, including Apple Fire TV, Roku and other major streaming gateways. Thus far, more than 99% of usage has been on mobile devices, the company says, with users consulting the app for top-rated series and movies, new trailers and other recommended offerings, filtered by categories and platforms.
Revenue sharing with subscription streamers — a profit center for tech giants — is not a strategic focus for Clix, which was founded as a company in 2017. Instead, its efforts are going toward advertising and sponsorships. By taking quizzes, offering reviews and ratings and taking other actions in the app, viewers can earn points redeemable for discounts from commercial partners. More than 8 million users have registered with Clix, enabling it to send daily email blasts with more streaming enticements.
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Stacy Jolna, a founder of Clix and its chief marketing officer, previously headed marketing for TiVo during its disruptive run at the turn of the millennium, and was SVP and GM of News Corp./TV Guide’s Digital TV Group after an early stretch as a producer for CNN.
In an interview, Jolna told Deadline he sees a link between his career alma maters and Clix. In particular, the on-screen guides shepherded by News Corp. (not to be confused with the TV Guide Channel, which morphed into PopTV) grew into large-scale, lucrative businesses by serving a purpose similar to that in today’s glutted landscape, Jolna noted. Clix isn’t aiming to command hours of viewers’ attention each day; it mainly seeks to prove its worth as a clutter-buster.
“Finding something to watch is such a source of so much friction with viewers,” he said. “We’re seeing loyalty from people who come back to us because they feel we can take some of that friction out of the process.”
Selections are surfaced through a combination of artificial intelligence and editorial curation. Instead of billing itself as a pure discovery tool — an increasingly crowded category whose players also compete with large tech and pay-TV gatekeepers — Clix blends advertising and e-commerce with trailers and other short-form pieces of marketing and programming.
Founder and CEO Ed Sullivan, who once oversaw the design and branding firm Pittard-Sullivan, which handled dozens of branding and re-branding efforts for TV networks and media companies, locates Clix “at the intersection of entertainment, technology and e-commerce.”
Clix says it is backed by about $10 million from high-net-worth individuals and families, though it has not identified investors. Among the company’s advocates is Mark Greenberg, former HBO and Showtime exec who ran premium cable joint venture Epix as CEO from its founding until its acquisition by MGM.
Greenberg, who is keen on Clix but not officially an investor, says the company “seems to have created its own non-combative niche.” With programming costs of nearly zero and no plans to try to try to edge out trillion-dollar tech companies, the company “is not a militarist in the streaming wars but a friendly ally to the leading streamers, guiding consumers to the most noteworthy talent in today’s ocean of entertainment.”
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