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In this day and age, with the availability of hours of streaming film and television content, it can be nostalgic to think back to the old days when people just channel surfed on the TV to get their entertainment fix. In many ways, channel surfing is a lost art, since even those that still subscribe to cable TV services will usually pick something to watch from an onscreen guide, rather than switch from station to station to see what’s on.

MSMU is a streaming service that hopes to bring back the art of channel surfing. MSMU is a free to view service, that is still under development, which can be described as “Vimeo or Netflix plus passive viewing wrapped in Facebook.” MSMU features content on a large selection of channels, which aims to bring back the ease of channel surfing. Toronto Film Scene got into contact with CEO Courtney Campbell to get a better understanding how MSMU works.

MSMU Interface

MSMU interactive interface

According to Campbell, MSMU was created to provide an accessible alternative to traditional broadcasting, in regards to the distribution and consumption of content. The movies and shows on the service are free to watch with no log-in required. The content on MSMU streams nearly instantly, using its patent-pending IIDS (interactive interface during streaming) technology, which avoids the hassle of waiting for content to load, before deciding if it’s worth watching.

The MSMU interactive interface delivers in-progress programming, which mimics television and allows the viewer to surf over 30 diverse channels. “We think of ourselves as both a far-reaching global theatre and digital living room,” says Campbell. “Imagine being able to watch the same movie at the exact same time with a friend or family member on the other side of the globe. Our fully integrated social network enables these kinds of shared experiences and global conversations, as users can comment in real-time on the movie or show they’re watching and connect with other users while remaining on the channel.”

MSMU OnDemand

MSMU OnDemand

The content of MSMU consists of classic and current content from around the world, including some selections that can be considered hidden gems. Some of the content that can currently be found on MSMU, either through the interactive interface or OnDemand library, include Sabaka (1954), Under California Stars (1948), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), and the television series Petticoat Junction (1963-1970). “We look forward to bringing so many different types of audiences with different interests together under one roof,” says Campbell on MSMU’s content. “We foresee that our accessible distribution system will deliver diverse, global content for audiences to discover and rediscover.”

Accessing MSMU is as easy as browsing to msmu.me, clicking on a channel card, and enjoying the content. Filmmakers looking to distribute their content on MSMU can sign up for an account and submit as many screeners as they want. “We’ll then screen for quality,” says Campbell. “If it fits our programming needs, we’ll process it, confirm your booking, schedule it, and provide you with a share of the profit. Throughout the process, you can drive traffic to your program (and increase your profit potential) using our built-in social networking features.” MSMU also allows advertisers to build on-line campaigns, which could either be seen through in-stream commercials or through the interactive controller. “Our DIY ad booking system also makes it easy for filmmakers to promote their program and drive traffic from across the platform to increase their profit potential,” says Campbell.

A selection of MSMU's channels

A selection of MSMU’s channels

In addition to the normal submission process, MSMU also has their first monthly VOXBRADS film festival coming up in January. VOXBRADS is a socially driven film festival, where votes from the viewers decide who wins. The festival supports a wide variety of genres streamed over four of MSMU’s channels, including Dark Sun, dedicated to sci-fi, horror, animation, and fantasy, and Voxnation, featuring documentaries. “What’s exciting about it is that filmmakers not only have a chance to win cash prizes and get exposure each month, but they can also earn ad revenue simply by being part of the festival and getting other users to participate,” says Campbell about VOXBRADS.

Another way that MSMU can help independent filmmakers is through the platform’s interlaced social network. “Filmmakers can curate a professional profile, showcase their portfolios and specific content, and connect with a global community of industry members,” says Campbell. “Our social network capabilities and user metrics are especially useful for filmmakers who want to directly interact with their audience and get valuable feedback.” In addition, MSMU’s carefully curated line-up on their 24-hour guide helps filmmakers to build and maintain a fanbase around the world. “Our scheduled programing provides an opportunity for content that may otherwise not have been seen to engage an audience that may not necessarily have been seeking it out.”

You can check out everything that MSMU has to offer by heading to msmu.me.