A company that offered studios and filmmakers a platform on which they could sell their work directly to viewers has gone dark. Yekra, which targeted documentaries and feature at the audiences most likely to enjoy them, has shut down.
Sonya Waterworth, one of Yekra’s co-founders, discussed Yekra’s closure in a Facebook post. She explained how the company’s investors “shut the doors without notifying anybody.” Waterworth, along with her husband and fellow Yekra co-founder Lee Waterworth, left the company in April.
Yekra first popped onto our radar in 2013, when it roared out of beta with $3 million in funding. At that point, several other options already existed for creators looking to sell their work directly to consumers, but Yekra hoped to use its technology to establish its niche. It was bullish on its AffiliateConnect tool, which it used to find the consumers who would be most interested in buying and sharing specific films. Yekra also allowed its sellers to enable DRM, which gave it an advantage among studios that wished to utilize the controversial distribution technology.
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Thanks to these and other selling points, Yekra managed to attract a number of high-quality projects from both narrative and documentary filmmakers. It was also able to expand its offerings in 2014 through a partnership with Indiegogo and an embeddable service called Yekra Theater.
Unfortunately for Yekra and its users, pay-to-view video distribution is a tough business. One of the platform’s competitors, Chill, also closed its doors when its own investor support dried up in 2013. Now, its site offline and its Twitter feed deactivated, Yekra has gone the same way. It’s too bad to see it go, but luckily, filmmakers who wish to sell their work online can still rely on platforms like VHX and Vimeo On Demand.