As Kanopy’s Popularity Grows, Can Your Library Continue to Afford It?

Eight years ago, on-demand streaming video platform Kanopy radically changed the educational market for video. Whereas institutions used to pay a premium — sometimes 10 times the consumer cost — to purchase DVDs, many universities began putting their dollars toward offering students access to the Kanopy website and app, where they can stream nearly 20,000 titles.

In 2017, Kanopy did something even more radical: It made an aggressive push to get into public libraries. This used a pay-per-view pricing model, not unlike an iTunes rental: Local libraries paid $2 each time a patron watched a video for at least 30 seconds. As libraries across the country signed up, Kanopy and its offerings grew. Last year, Kanopy’s monthly active membership increased by 250 percent, while the library added another 6,000 titles to include the libraries of A24 and Frederick Wiseman, along with a 100 classics from Paramount’s vault and a film-school-friendly portion of the Criterion Collection.

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