Singapore content start-up Vuulr takes a stab at conquering Hollywood

Singapore start-up content marketplace for film and TV rights Vuulr has appointed Thomas Hughes as its CEO Americas as it opens its office in Los Angeles. Founded by Ian Mckee, former founder of GroupM-acquired social agency Vocanic, Vuulr launched internationally in January 2020, and claims to have over 130,000 hours of finished content, 4,500 registered, vetted, and approved buyers. In a press statement, the firm said it has generated over 1,200 licensing transactions in its first year.

Hughes has been brought on board to spearhead opening Vuulr’s first US office and building a local, robust team focused on super-serving Hollywood, and all content owners and creators across North and Latin America.  Hughes will report directly to global CEO McKee. Previously with Lionsgate for nearly nine years, Hughes was responsible for building and operating the company’s digital distribution efforts in his most recent role as EVP of worldwide digital distribution. Prior to this, he was responsible for worldwide digital media at MGM. Earlier in his career, Hughes worked in local media aiding with digital growth for companies such as Scripps, Media General, Cosmos Broadcasting, and Diversified Communications.

“This is a match made in heaven. Having worked inside the four walls of two Hollywood studios during the past 12-plus years, I’ve experienced first-hand the friction surrounding content transactions of all shapes and sizes. Vuulr solves huge pain-points for the industry. From the buy-side on Vuulr, acquisition teams are sourcing and acquiring content globally - faster and easier than ever before. Plus content owners are monetising catalogs with no up-front fees which is a unique proposition. I passionately believe Vuulr offers unmatched efficiency and value surrounding content distribution,” said Hughes.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, McKee said the team has grown over the past year with 22 individuals joining the team across Singapore, Philippines and Sri Lanka. The firm now carries approximately 21,000 unique titles from 6,000 content creators from around the world. What the team sees a strong content appetite emerging from the US, Singapore is growing steadily ranking in fifth in terms of demand for content, while Philippines and Malaysia come in at eighth and tenth globally. 

The platform features premium film and TV content from producers and distributors including Sony, Legendary Television, Gaumont, Televisa, Viacom 18, CNN, Caracol, and thousands more including both indies and larger studios. Buyers on Vuulr include people from companies like The Walt Disney Company, Viacom International Media Networks, BBC, UKTV, Turner International Apac, Nordic Entertainment, MediaCorp, Zee, and thousands more. Astro, mediacorp, ABS-CBN, GMA Network and the likes. 

“Hughes is an incredibly experienced and dynamic executive with a rare combination of knowledge from both the buyers’ and sellers' perspectives. His experience while with Lionsgate launching SVOD and AVOD services, along with many years of running digital sales, marketing, and content operations globally, position him uniquely to help Vuulr grow in the US and beyond. I am delighted that Thomas is joining us,” said Ian McKee said. 

Vuulr was launched in 2017 by McKee and Ben Heyho Flint as co-founder and COO. Vuulr’s system was built on blockchain and saw endorsement from the likes of Mediacorp, PT Media Nusantara Citra Tbk (MNC), Endemol Shine Group, amongst others during its launch.