Kanopy, Inc.
TypePrivately held company
IndustryVideo Streaming
FoundedNovember 25, 2008
FounderOlivia Humphrey
Number of locations
2 (San Francisco, Irvine)

Kanopy, Inc. is an on-demand streaming video platform for public libraries and universities[1] that offers films and documentaries.[2] Kanopy's subdivision, Kanopy Kids, includes children's programming; all Kanopy member accounts have access to Kanopy Kids.[3] On June 9, 2021, it was announced that Overdrive had reached a deal to acquire Kanopy.[4]


Kanopy was founded in 2008 at Scarborough, Western Australia, by Olivia Humphrey, an Australian entrepreneur, as an educational tool for universities.[5] Started in Australia, it is now headquartered in San Francisco, California.[6] On 5 September 2017, the International Documentary Organisation published an extensive interview with Humphrey that describes Kanopy's history and aspirations.[7] In October 2019, Kevin Sayar succeeded Humphrey as CEO.[8] On June 9, 2021, Overdrive announced that it had reached a deal to acquire Kanopy.


Kanopy provides each participating public library[9] and university with a dedicated and customizable website through which members can stream films. The service includes features such as captions, transcripts, clip creation, and playlist creation that allow users to share videos.[10][11][12]

Business model

Public library patrons, and university students and faculty are able to watch Kanopy free-of-charge with their institution's library card. Institutions pay for the films their students and faculty watch on a per-view basis.[10] This model used by libraries is referred to as "patron-driven acquisition" where each view (watching a video for 30 seconds or more) will prompt the sale of a license fee for that title. Costs vary per institutional contract, but have been estimated in 2019 for single titles to be $150 for one year, $350 for a three-year license.[13]

Librarians have access to an administrative dashboard which allows them to view user analytics and adjust budgets.[10]

On July 1, 2019, three of the largest public libraries in the United States—the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Public Library—discontinued Kanopy, citing unpredictable and unsustainable costs.[14]

Device support

Kanopy can be viewed on a computer, mobile device, or television via a web browser supporting HTML5 video or the Kanopy app for Amazon Fire Tablet and Fire Stick, Android, Apple iOS, and Roku.[15]

See also


  1. ^ "About Us". Kanopy.
  2. ^ "Kanopy Streaming Video". University of Oregon. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  3. ^ "Kanopy, the On-Demand Streaming Video Service Free for Public Library Members, Adds Children's Content with Launch of Kanopy Kids" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  4. ^ L Squared Capital Partners Announces Pending Sale of Kanopy to OverDrive
  5. ^ Smith, Sean. "Kanopy Concept Created in Garage". The West Australian. The West Australian. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  6. ^ White, Tom. "A Conversation with Kanopy Founder and CEO Olivia Humphrey". ida. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  7. ^ Documentary.org, “Interview with Kanopy CEO Ms Olivia Humphrey” https://www.documentary.org/online-feature/conversation-kanopy-founder-and-ceo-olivia-humphrey
  8. ^ Hayes, Dade (2019-10-16). "Kanopy Hands Streaming Platform's CEO Reins To E-Book Specialist Kevin Sayar". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  9. ^ "Kanopy chief Olivia Humphrey backs R&D scheme". The Australian. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  10. ^ a b c Flatley, Robert. "Standard Review: Kanopy Streaming". The Charleston Advisor. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  11. ^ Haigney, Sophie (August 7, 2017). "Now Showing at the Public Library: 30,000 Movies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  12. ^ Kenny, Glenn (September 1, 2017). "Library Cards Unlock Film Vaults". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  13. ^ Cagle, Chris (3 May 2019). "Kanopy: Not Just Like Netflix, and Not Free". Film Quarterly. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  14. ^ New York Public Library, "Statement About Kanopy"
  15. ^ "How to stream movies for free using your Grand Rapids library card". MLive.com. Retrieved 2017-05-15.