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Popcorn Horror



Popcorn Horror is a case study submitted by the Cultural Enterprise Office in Edinburgh in December 2012

'Felix has built one of the most engaging and  unique platforms for filmmakers developers and horror move fans' .

Jamie Coleman, Open Innovation Business Mentor.

Starting point

Popcorn Horror is a smartphone application (iOS/Android) that connects horror film fans by streaming the best short horror films from around the world.  It extends to horror quotes, movie posters, news feed and advertises their merchandise store. The company recognised that there is a market for user-generated content using new and emerging digital platforms and payment systems. The challenge was to build a sustainable and growing business generating sufficient revenue to pay filmmakers worldwide who participate on the platform, and internal staff.

What happened?

Felix Gilfedder, the app's co-founder, received mentoring from the Open Innovation Project to refine the business concept and redesign its strayegy based on open innovation principles. He also took part in the Cultural Enterprise Offices' 'Starter for 6' Programme, which is Scotland's premier start-up and investment programme for creative industry entrepreneurs. The company started with a subscription-based business model but decided to turn this on its head after receiving mentoring to concentrate on growing a community and developing a reputation for being the most exciting horror app available.

The 'Blood Stamp'

Alongside the app, the company is developing an innovative payment system called a Blood Stamp to exploit the growing trend toward micro donations. All the content on Popcorn Horror is free and will be united by the Blood Stamp button in a similar way to a Facebook ‘like’. Users will sign up for the system once and allocate a monthly budget of no less than $2. If they like the content, they can then distribute their stamp budget by choosing between four micro donation options per clip: 20¢, 50¢, $1 or $2.


Popcorn Horror is the first and only company providing a specialised horror channel on smartphones. It is a hub for fans to learn about news, to watch the best content, and to interact with the global horror community. The app's customers associate the brand with providing only the very best films. The company built an open platform where any international horror movie maker can build an audience, gain access to crowdfunding (via the 'Blood Stamp') and potentially sell their own merchandise. By offering users the option to subscribe in order to access extra films and ability to watch films offline, Popcorn Horror continues to grow whilst maintaining a 3% conversion rate of guests to members.

What does this mean?

The app has created a reputation as a cutting egde horror experience designed for the growing mobile phone app sector. It was just 4 months old when it was selected as a finalist for the Spotlight APP award at SXSW. The 'Blood Stamp' is being designed as an open community tool and can be embedded with any website creating potential for a much larger offering. Currently the company is developing Popcorn Horror 2. This is an extension of the current service which will include a larger cross-platform channel designed to work across all devices including tablets, games consoles and connected TV. This should allow Popcorn Horror to reach 60% of their potential customer base.

Key learning points 

The app's co-founder, Felix Gilfedder says:

  • The digital environment is overflowing with products, ideas, messages and established companies. Embracing open innovation allows the business to reach the maximum number of people with minimal resources.
  • Businesses need to establish a dynamic social media plan across the various platforms. The community is vital and audiences are more fragmented than ever so one needs to have a voice in various digital spaces.
  • Entrepreneurs should work on relationships with people that can help grow their business. The best way to get a community formed around an idea or product is to put them at the heart of the content and allow them to interact with the media.

Felix Gilfedder





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