FOTV, a holding group that features OTT network CinemaNow and the holographic production company Hologram USA, announced recently a NASDAQ IPO with a significant crowd financing component. Along with FilmOn TV and OVGuide, FOTV reaches 75 million unique monthly users.
While FilmOn and CinemaNow are some of the longest running streaming services, Hologram USA is perhaps the most interesting FOTV holding. The unit holds the exclusive holographic rights to Whitney Houston, Billie Holiday, Andy Kauffman and Dean Martin, and plans on launching holographic shows at major events along with building dedicated hologram theaters.
For more on the IPO and the OTT space, we spoke with FOTV’s CEO Alki David:
Found Remote: Why did FOTV decide that now is the time to go public?
Alki David: Found Remote: An IPO on a major exchange like Nasdaq conveys status and legitimacy, which will increase our ability to buy other related companies and increase revenues. This gives our investors the added growth and capital value we need to keep building. I should note that the final prospectus is on file and available to the public with the SEC-- with all benefits and risks associated with our company and this industry are in there.
FR: How does FOTV plan to use the money it raises from the IPO?
David: We will expand the creation of great content, including resurrection hologram shows like Whitney Houston Live and other shows for dedicated hologram theaters, and original TV programming across digital, cable and satellite. We'll also increase sales staff and make acquisitions of other related companies.
FR: What is the crowd financing component of the IPO and what has the reception been like since announcing it?
David: We're marketing directly to 30 million registered users on our sites, to our 75 million uniques and with paid TV and radio spots and infomercials on Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, Howard Stern, Glenn Beck and others. We're also utilizing social media influencer companies. I'm even having fun on Snapchat promoting it.
The reaction has been very positive--I can't give numbers, but our brokers are being kept busy.
FR: Publicly traded media companies have had a tough time of late. Why are you confident that FOTV will be able to buck that trend? What's the difference?
David: By making an opportunity like this available to the little guy we reach investors directly and sell them on the long term growth strategy that benefits all of us. People want the chance to be part of new tech innovations and having a stake in the future of entertainment is enticing.
FR: FOTV was an early entrant into the OTT space, but now the space has become so crowded. How do you plan to continue to attract new audiences while retaining existing fans?
David: You're right we've been doing OTT a lot longer than the other guys--and we've learned quite a bit about what audiences want. We're rapidly expanding both our content offering and the access to our apps on various devices.
Our ecosystem allows users to seamlessly tap into our free and subscriber only channels, and premium studio and network content via CinemaNow. Most exciting is the ways FilmOn and the FOTV companies distribute the Hologram USA shows--it's really key.
I need to tell you also that we don't just do OTT, we do traditional TV via cable and satellite, and advertising sales,and we have revenue as well from hardware sales and licensing of content and technology.
FR: How will FOTV continue to expand its holographic productions? Why do you think the demand for such productions will continue to grow - especially when everyone's now talking about VR and AR?
David: We're building the first of what we anticipate will be a network theaters with dedicated hologram stages with the IMAX model in mind. We continue to sign legends, truly beloved idols, and to improve the experience for the audience. Our theaters will be in major tourist areas building the brand and ensuring bums in seats.
Our patented hologram technology is AR capable--you see that when we beam Jimmy Kimmel to the Country Music Association Awards each year to interact with the stars on stage. There's plenty more we can do.
VR and 360 are already part of what we do in the Hologram space - its been built into our production process for some time, and FOTV presents a compelling distribution network for that content.