Jason Kassin: Through a series of events, we ended up getting a large investment from a private equity group in 2013. That transformed FilmTrack from a small startup to a much larger organization that was funded by a private equity group and was able to grow substantially in the last three years. That investment, we hadn’t even contemplated at that point, was the turbo charge.
Actually, one of our clients was very much taken in by what we had done. He saw something in our software that we, ourselves, didn’t see. It had the potential to be really transformative to a lot of film and television companies. He also knew that even the largest film and television companies had nothing relative to our software. I had always assumed that there were guys in white lab coats at the studios who had built something clearly superior to what we had put together. I had a low self-esteem at that point I guess.
When I got to the studios to see what they had to manage the same business processes that we were solving, I was stunned. It was a green screen. What we had deployed in the international film distribution business could be applicable at the enterprise level for the largest broadcasters. We could have a real substantive business here. I also started going up and down the chain going beyond the distribution and financials to tracking the creative information as scripts come in and evaluating whether those should be acquired or produced. We were also tracking the metadata around films and televisions.
Sramana Mitra: Can you pinpoint for me when you actually figured out that alerted you to this opportunity this imdb for the company and managing distribution rights? Can you pinpoint when you figured out that you were going to turn it into a product?
Jason Kassin: The notion of turning it into a product was around 2000 to 2001. The company that we were working with at that time no longer exists. I was able to see at a very micro level the whole lifecycle of intellectual property – from the moment of contemplation, financing, distribution, delivery, and then the financial compensation through royalties and all the accounting that goes with that.
The smaller companies do the entire lifecycle themselves, but as you get into a larger studio, they’re very siloed. The part of the organization or people who are doing the acquisition of a title or the creative assessment don’t even know the names or haven’t even met the people who were doing the distribution or sales. It was around then that we realized the opportunity. What has transformed between 2013 and now is that the company has been exposed to a few things.
One is, the enterprise level implementations and the very demanding and very specific requirements of true enterprise class implementation of software. The other is the changes in our industry and being able to apply those changes in terms of the way content is distributed now and the changing landscape of how we consume television content.