One streaming video online service with a focus on Asian content has just announced that it has secured $4.5 million in funding. DramaFever is a New York-based startup that has grown its viewership base three fold since March 2011 and specializes in Asian drama.
Now with 1.5 million viewers, the young company that was initially backed by Youtube co-founder Steven Chen and Google Exec Benjamin Ling has now added Spreecast founder Jeff Fluhr in a financing round led by MK Capital, according to published reports.
DramaFever's catalog included roughly 400 series from South Asia, mostly Korea -- which adds up to nearly 10,000 hours of content. The surprising part of this startup tale is not just that the company is based in New York, but that 75% of the viewers are are not Asian, just big fans of dramatic television
The company plans to use this funding to double the size of the engineering team and replicate the success of DramaFever with other international markets. Considering 80-90% of video content is created outside the Los Angeles city limits, the DramaFever team sees Latin America and Bollywood as great opportunities.
DramaFever is running on a freemium model, where approximately 15,000 paying subscribers spend $10 a month and the rest of the viewers are watching ad-supported content.
At the start of this year, reports came out that Hulu' premium service, Hulu Plus, reached 1.5 million users and showed that even with a free version of the streaming service available, companies can attract users to pay for the content they view.
The 1.5 million marie is a five-fold increase from the 300,000 paying subscriber base signed up to Hulu Plus at the end of 2010. Hulu Plus offers more shows, movies, ad-free viewing and access to full series' rather than selected episodes.
The company grew 60% from 2010 to approximately $420 million in revenue for a service that allows users to watch Hulu content on their computers, TV, gaming devices, tablets and smart phones.
Netflix still holds the lion's share of online television and movie watching for the same $7.99 rate of unlimited streaming on multiple devices, even after loosing nearly a million subscribers due to rate hikes and missteps. Netflix still clocks in at close to 23.8 million subscribers.
The was founded in early 2009 when Seung Bak and his co-founder Suk Park took note of the interest that US audiences has in video content from Korea and other Asian countries.
DramaFever has also signed a deal with Hulu in order to expand its revenue model and introduce more viewers to Asian video content.
As more viewers continue to raise their expectations of what content they can get online, companies like DramaFever are meeting demands and helping people access otherwise tricky content to get, unless you frequent the video section of your local Asian Market.