Los Angeles Business Journal

Yekra Launches Digital Distribution Theater

By Melissah Yang Thursday, August 28, 2014

Yekra, a digital film distributor in the Arts District, is launching an embeddable “theater” that allows websites to customize and curate their own digital marquee of movies and video content.

The Yektra Theater can be hosted on any site, social media page or digital property. Publishers choose from licensed movies in Yekra’s digital library or showcase their own video content.

A website for comic book enthusiasts, for example, could offer showings of “Batman Begins” and “Man of Steel” as well as include self-produced vlogs reviewing the newest Marvel superhero. Visitors would pay to watch the movies.

It’s a new take on digital distribution with the consumer and consumer’s taste in mind, said Lee Waterworth, Yekra’s founder and chief executive.

“Instead of pulling consumers to a destination (like iTunes or Netflix), we’re pushing content out to where they’re already are,” he said. “It’s helping people find stuff that’s of interest to them.”

And what do host sites get out of it?

“You get a cut of the revenue, you’re providing a richer experience for your users and you’re retaining people on your website for two hours without sending them off somewhere else,” Waterworth said.

Host sites can receive a 10 to 25 percent cut of the showing’s revenue.

Yekra is marking its product launch by partnering with the Dove Foundation, a nonprofit that identifies movies appropriate for children, to set up a Dove Theater that offers family-friendly titles. The digital distributor also has roughly 20 other theaters in beta, including those created for MovieMaker Magazine, ilovedocs.com and JoBlo.com.

Launched in 2011, Yekra has $3.8 million in funding to date. A $3 million Series A round was led by angel investor Maurice Gallagher with participation from Bray Capital in London and angels Shay O'Brien and Michael Rogers.

Staff reporter Melissah Yang can be reached at MYang@labusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @MelissahYang for the latest in L.A. tech news.