Streaming service free over pandemic
A businessman who launched a streaming service last year is to offer free membership until the Covid-19 pandemic has eased.
McCal Roberts said it was hoped that his BDAFilms service would also be able to air island television channels.
He added: “We’re going to have European soccer playing, we’re going to have movies playing and eventually we’re going to have all local content available to people if they want to sit off and watch it.”
Mr Roberts said: “We paid for the hosting licence, so once they log in they’ll see what type of content we have and hopefully, once this pandemic’s over, people will stay there and pay a subscription at the end of the month.”
He added: “Streaming’s just a platform we use, so I said ’well look, instead of just using one stream for one thing we can use the streaming platform for many things.”
BDAFilms, which went live last year, allows people to sign up for a subscription with limited access to some live-streams and videos or a membership with full access to the website’s content.
Mr Roberts said that he at first charged $10 a month for membership, but that he lifted the paywall as a gesture of good will to people thrown out of work because of the coronavirus.
He added that the website was a third-party public streaming service similar to Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Mr Roberts said that he released a prototype of the service last year and had already signed up almost 1,400 people.
He added he had introduced more sports live-streams to encourage people to sign up.
Mr Roberts said that he also had island-made independent documentaries and videos but wanted to get more Bermudian channels on board to help promote a Bermudian film industry.
He added: “Apple is not going to go around and say ’hey Bermuda, give us some content’ and Netflix is not going to say ’hey Bermuda, give us some content’.”
Mr Roberts added that it was also important to show the best of what the rest of the world offered.
He said: “We have to sort of use our own initiative by going out there and getting a licence to stream things like European soccer, the NFL or the NBA.”
He added he had applied for approval for a licence that would allow him to stream movies.
Mr Roberts said that the service was another way for Bermuda to feel connected with the rest of the world.
He added that the website could be browsed free and would show trailers to people considering signing up.
The website can be found at bdafilm.com.