Must-see TV

New streaming platform aims to be local version of Netflix

Content provider Izzy Stream Israel offers original content that tells Israel’s stories

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Izzy Stream Israel, a new content platform featuring Israeli TV shows, films, and documentaries that launched May 21, 2020. (Courtesy, Izzy Stream Israel)
Izzy Stream Israel, a new content platform featuring Israeli TV shows, films, and documentaries that launched May 21, 2020. (Courtesy, Izzy Stream Israel)

“Shtisel,” “Fauda,” “The Baker and the Beauty, “When Heroes Fly” — these are some of the binge-worthy Israeli shows that have happily made it to Netflix.

There are other local shows and films that have not reached the global platform, but are worth watching. And now that content may become available on Izzy Stream Israel.

Izzy is the new media content platform created by 30-year-old Josh Hoffman, a Los Angeleno immigrant who came to Israel on Birthright, was introduced to Tel Aviv, and never left.

The for-profit platform charges $4.99 a month, and has gathered 5,000 viewers since its May 21 launch, said Hoffman. He is hoping to double that figure each month.

Josh Hoffman, founder of Izzy Stream TV, a new content platform featuring Israeli TV and films (Courtesy Josh Hoffman)

A social media and online marketing entrepreneur with a background in journalism, Hoffman believed there was a need for a media platform that showed everything that’s going on in Israel, including long-form content, movies, TV shows and documentaries.

“There was this missing piece,” Hoffman said. “Given the amazing amount of talent from Israel, we weren’t showing different aspects of Israeli society.”

Hoffman and his team wanted to create an entertainment platform that would show all sides of Israel, because when it comes to storytelling and creativity, “Israel packs a pretty nice punch,” he said.

The platform is currently licensing existing content through Israeli filmmakers, distributors, and sales agents. The plan is also to create original content, working on co-productions with local Israeli producers, such as Keshet, Reshet, Kan and the Israel Film Fund.

‘I Am Israel,’ a documentary about the country now showing on Izzy Stream TV, a new content platform that launched May 21, 2020. (Courtesy Izzy TV)

“We’re on the same trajectory as Netflix, in terms of having original content that is only available on our platform,” he said. “We’re trying to educate filmmakers that they have more power than they used to. We want them to come directly to us.”

While Izzy is a for-profit company, it is also mission-driven, and the mission is Israel, said Hoffman, who is currently seeking venture-capital funding, after bootstrapping his venture through its initial launch.

“If an Israeli filmmaker or TV writer can get something on a mainstream platform, I encourage them to do that,” he said. “But for every one person who gets that opportunity, there are those who won’t and that’s who we want to help and there are hundreds in that pool.”

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