Scener is an online platform that enables everyone to watch shows and movies in perfect synchronization. It is basically a plug-in that permits viewers to co-view on ten mainstream entertainment platforms including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO NOW and HBO GO.
The recent relaunch of Scener has come up with a version that can give you an integrated movie theatre experience where over 20 individuals can come together virtually over a movie or show in sync. You would also be provided with a dedicated sidebar to text chat or share videos and audio.
Started in 2018, the company grew in the Seattle area’s LAUNCH incubator. The startup was initially focused on allowing viewers from different areas to chat while they watch a video. As of today, Scener has raised $2.1 million to invest in the technology providing premium entertainment for the people around the world stuck in their homes.
Here is a brief overview of Scener’s company profile.
|Daniel Strickland, Joe Braidwood
|Daniel Strickland – Co-founder & CEO, Joe Braidwood – Co-founder & COO, Karen Baker – User Experience Directory, John Anderson – Lead Engineer, Dan Montgomery – Senior Engineer, Jared Cunningham – Creative Marketing Director, Tika Appaiah – Head of Design, Isaac Parker – Test Engineer, Kady Gill – Community Director
|Greater Seattle Area, West Coast, Western United States
|Hearo Live, Netflix Party, Kast, Skillz, Esports One, Vulcun
What is Scener? A Brief History
If we look into the history of Scener, it is not actually an independent startup. A streaming technology firm, RealNetworks, helped in the incubation of Scener. RealNetworks is popular among the masses for its RealPlayer media player and plug-ins.
This was in 2017 that the idea of Scener came up in the mind of Daniel Strickland, who is a senior product director at RealNetworks. Daniel was a fan of ‘Game of Thrones,’ an obsessive fan, one must say. So, according to him, he wanted to go through the fan theories, and all the commentary people came up with as the new episodes aired. Daniel, being a busy individual, couldn’t watch new episodes live.
In Daniel Strickland’s words:
“I was always frustrated that I couldn’t rewind Twitter.”
He shared the idea with his seniors, which made them invest several million dollars. As for the question about how much money was initially invested in the project, Scener has never disclosed the figure.
After spinning out from RealNetworks, the 3-year old company is being backed by Seattle-based funding known as SeaChange as well as Glaser Investments. The fund is run by the founder and CEO of the company we have already talked about, RealNetworks. Scener is an early innovator and has been just in time.
How Does Scener Work and What Does it Offer?
Scener is a consumer-oriented startup allowing users to co-view their favorite shows online in perfect sync. This pandemic has limited people to their homes to a large extent. This is what this technology has taken advantage of—promising for interacting fan experiences while co-watching film festivals; the platform uses a free Google Chrome extension.
So how exactly does Scener work?
Scener Chrome extension is available on their website, which you are supposed to add to the browser if you are interested in their application. You will be required to create a free account on the program and link the subscribed platforms.
Once the account is created, you would see the option of “Host a watch party.” If you want to develop your watch party, a few options would be created for you to choose from. Or, if you want to invite your friends to the watch party, simply head over to the “Room.” For starting the party immediately, go for “Host now,” but if you plan to create a link for later, click “Create link for later.”
Scener allows you to host an unlimited number of viewers from around the world. If this is what you are looking for, “Theater” is the option you should be clicking on. This is suitable for bigger public or private events. There are quite a few options for you to choose from:
- Set the events to private
- Create events immediately
- Schedule them for later
Looking to get into the watch party? Here is how it goes.
Click at “Host now” and then “Launch watch party,” or you can just “Create link for later.” Now
“Join room” to get into the viewing session.
What does Scener offer to its consumers?
If you add the Scener extension to your Chrome, you will be able to view a pair of pop-up windows showing you various options, including chat window, content, etc. The extension will enable you to invite your friends to the session by clicking on the URL link available above the chat window.
Your friends will have two ways to join your party, either through the URL link or the theatre code, you will provide them. You can host subsequent watch parties in the same room.
To join someone else’s watch party, they will provide you with the code to take you to the website. If you don’t already have an account, you have to create the account and add the extension in order to join the party. You will see the option “Have a code?” on the official site. Paste the code there, and you are good to go.
Scener enables you to opt for a service, and then you can open it using the Scener pop-up screen. Remember that you will have to give the it access to your streaming accounts.
You can watch your favorite shows from:
- HBO Max
- Amazon Video
- Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
By clicking on the drop-down menu, you can “choose something to watch” with the company.
The show will be synced for all the participants while only one person would control the playback, I.e., the host.
If you are the host, you can opt to give the controls to your fellow. For this, snap the remote-control option and choose the person from the list of users. Upon creating a Theater, it is permissible to designate a co-host.
The fun part is that Scener allows the users to chat and send emojis within the Scener chatbox. Not only with text, but you can also include audio and video in your conversations.
You will be required to permit Scener to access your camera and microphone for video and audio chats. However, you would still have the option to disable them again after use. Let’s learn more about Scener business model and how it makes money.
Scener Business Model
Scener has seen substantial growth in the era of the pandemic, and they have even updated their products to reach the target of 500,000 active installs and 12 million minutes of co-viewing per week.
Pandemic has made people turn to at-home modes of entertainment. As the United States went under lockdown, the installation rate surged to 15 times. Scener’s co-founder and COO, Joe Braidwood, claims that the company has so much more to offer. Even in the latest relaunch of Scener, we noticed a complete rebuild of the technology.
The platform depends on the number of installations as it provides the users with a virtual movie theatre experience.
Unlike some co-watching services like Twitch, Scener ensures that consumers enjoy appropriate deals within the legal framework.
Scener Unique Selling Propositions
Not long ago, we witnessed companies getting sued for streaming live sports games to their users. Also, some major video chat services have been used to co-watch the shows, which in some cases do not ensure synchronization.
Scener promises and delivers both legality and synchronization to its users to get care-free entertainment. The company partners with the platforms to develop appropriate legal deals.
Apart from that, Scener is not complicated to bring into use. A chrome extension is all you need to begin your virtual theater experience.
How Does Scener Make Money?
Braidwood, the co-founder of Scener, cited three potential revenue streams of the program. It is to be noted that Scener is not making money from virtual watch parties. Instead, it is working on the “pre-revenue” model. Here is how it goes.
Scener makes money by promoting partner content. For instance, movie premieres can be sponsored or ticketed, and their affiliation would earn the company. Another way for Scener to make money is by selling subscriptions and emojis for virtual events of sought-after Scener hosts. The third way is by collecting bounties from subscriber signups.
In a word, Scener generates revenue by making partnerships with mainstream streaming services.
Scener SWOT Analysis
Many additions are coming the way of Scener as told by the company’s main staff. Let’s assess what do Scener SWOT analysis on what we have already got.
- Apps with apparently similar working models have landed in hot waters, yet Scener operates entirely within the legal boundaries.
- Scener’s 3-year growth is recorded at an impressive mark of 38.5%.
- The startup has raised $2.1 million to expand its roots worldwide.
- The other similar online solutions in the market mainly focus on a single service, for instance, Netflix Party. But Scener is relatively inclusive of various platforms that gives it an upper hand.
- Unlike Scener, the video chat option is still rare in so many platforms like GroupWatch.
- In YouTube reaction videos, you might have noticed that the creators have to oblige to copyright rules by either muting the video for a few seconds or showing only a part of them. Scener, on the other hand, allows the content creators to videotape their reactions over the whole show or a movie without getting into any copyright violations.
- When a person leaves a comment on the video, it appears at the part of the video that’s currently playing, and the chat grows so that everyone gets a similar experience no matter when they tune into it.
- Scener depends on the media platforms to grant the app permission to stream content. For instance, WarnerMedia approached the app to grant permission to stream content while it preserves its IP.
- Scener’s growth and watch parties do not translate to actual dollars because of its working model where revenue generation depends on partnerships.
- Scener is currently paying to bring on board some known content creators such as YouTube and Vine, and it is yet unclear how the company will manage to make money both for itself and the creators.
- There are certain technology hurdles on the way since the co-founders describe Scener as a Chrome extension yet insist that the users will watch videos on their laptops which does not sit quite right. We know that Chrome does not support browser extensions on iOS, and we don’t see Scener building its own video app to synchronize with mainstream media apps like Netflix. Even if we say that Apple supports split-screen apps, it still does not allow two apps to play videos simultaneously.
- Scener’s revenue is ranked 9th among its top 10 competitors that are Hearo.Live, Netflix Party, kast, Skillz, Esports One, EsportsPools, Unikrn, AlphaDraft, GamerSaloon, and Vulcun.
- Another threat for Scener is the video game streaming competitors like Twitch, where content creators can record their own gameplay footage along with their commentary. This gives them command over the entire content. This can prove to a potential source of ad revenue. In contrast, we see Scener perform an end-run around copyright rules. This can prove problematic once the company wishes to expand onto other devices.
- The company is expected to develop a “1-to-many” version of the Scener app to increase synchronous viewership.
- Scener has been working with content providers to create mobile prototypes
- This is the perfect time for Scener to come up with features that best suit the people’s demands of online entertainment since most of us are working and staying at home for the significant part of the day.
- Since the coronavirus outbreak, Scener has seen its organic growth boom 100-fold
- Braidwood says that Scener does not intend to introduce advertising on the platform. However, this could be an option for the company to allow the content creators to integrate a link for direct payments from passionate viewers.
- It is a good option for Scener to lean more towards live events since there could be a lot of potential and demand. For instance, getting a snarkier take on the Oscars.
- Scener can discuss its product with streaming services to work and integrate directly with their apps.