If we were to go with Mark Twain’s ingredients for an ideal life being “good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience”, where would ‘good movies’ go in these times? With the country producing more than a thousand movies in several languages every year, movies are an integral part of every Indian and definitely help spice up our lives. Consequently, here’s a startup that has built a movie platform – Flixstreet, for those in the lookout for a good life with friends.
Founded by a group of movie lovers (Arindam Mukherjee, Subhadeep Mondal, Arnab Bhattacharya and Tithee Mukhopadhyay) who grew up on the 90s Bollywood movies, Flixstreet was their solution to avoiding paid reviews, knowing their friends views about a movie and being updated with the latest releases all in one place. The platform hopes to be the social discovery and recommendation engine for Indian movies, where you can discover, share and follow your friends’ recommendations on movies.
This sounded like a cool proposition, though not unheard of before, so I gave it a try to discover new movies and what is the buzz around them.
Flixstreet – first look
The exceptionally clean layout in a card design had me at once. Categorised into three baskets: Movies, Street chat, My activity, Flixstreet has kept it really simple. Adding the social layer is the Facebook login that automatically adds your Facebook friends who are on Flixstreet. And, in case you have friends who love movies but are not on Flixstreet, you can invite them too.
Movies provides a quick snapshot of all the latest movies, upcoming releases and the ones recommended by your friends.
Streetchat captures the pulse of the network through a Pinterest-like layout. You can take a quick glance at all the gossip on a movie along with ‘street pulse’ i.e. community ratings for it.
My activity, as the name suggests, shows my reviews, ratings and watchlist, apart from that of my friends on the platform. Besides, clicking on the names of any Flixstreet member, pulls up a dashboard of their activities.
Discovering and sharing on Flixstreet
I started with my recent favourite Shoojit Sircar’s ‘Madras Cafe’ after logging in. The intelligent search at the top found the movie within seconds. As you can see in the screenshot, every card has a piece of information. Below the still from the movie, there are options to watch the trailer, video songs or watch with friends (in which case you can win discounts/gift coupons!)
Next you can see what everybody is talking about Madras Cafe. Streetchat pulls up all the gossip on the platform made by the Flixstreet community. Reviews displays the star ratings accompanied by short and crisp reviews. I can also post my review on the movie here. Critics section pulls up a list of all the reviews made by expert critics. The right pane ‘Tweets’ section pulls up all the tweets made with reference to ‘Madras Cafe’ in real time.
Apart from posting my review on the movie, I can also rate it with the 5-star rating, recommend it to my Facebook friends, or add it to my watchlist by clicking the ‘+’ on the poster.
I continued my movie discovery to find a psychological thriller called ‘Prague’ and added it to my watchlist at once. Also, I searched for buzz around the upcoming ‘The Lunchbox’ starring my favourite actor, Irrfan Khan, and was pleasantly surprised to see it on the watchlist of most of my friends!
Can Flixstreet be a hit?
The social layer certainly makes it a hit. Who wouldn’t want to know what her friends are thinking about a movie, before deciding what to watch this weekend? But the icing on the cake is the ‘watch with friends’ feature that offers discounts so you can make more movie plans with your friends.
The design is awesome; I’m always biased for neat and clean interfaces with a card layout. Navigation is smooth due to the simple, intuitive design that does not confuse you on where to go next.
But, the platform could do with the addition of more social features. A network works better if one can add/follow members with similar views, hence adding a ‘follow’ option for users would be a great idea. Users could connect and discover more movies that way. The other change could be incorporating the Facebook commenting system while adding movie reviews and possibly get more user traction.
Signups need to be platform-independent. Adding an email login would be better than only having a Facebook login, even though the core feature of the platform is based on recommendations and user preferences via Facebook. There are users who would prefer not to log in via a Facebook login.
Interestingly, Flixstreet reminds us of Muvi, a similar platform that we had reviewed back in September 2011. The platform has evolved to become a place for discovery, sharing, following and connecting with like-minded movie lovers.
Flixstreet has a long way to go but with a mobile app underway, a movie recommendation engine based on a user’s profile, and the ability to buy tickets from the platform, it sure seems to be well headed in the right direction.
The weekend is nearing and I’m sure you’ll give a shot to Flixstreet. Do let us know your experiences on the platform.