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Kevin Sayer Joins Kanopy as Chief Executive Officer

Smart Libraries Newsletter [December 2019]


Kanopy, a company providing a streaming video service to libraries, has named Kevin Sayer as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The company's founder and long-time CEO Olivia Humphrey will remain involved with the company as its Executive Chairman of its Board of Directors. Kanopy was founded in 2008 in Australia and has since expanded into New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States. The company is now headquartered in San Francisco.

The company was acquired by L Squared Capital Partners in July 2018. Since that investment, the company has recruited new executives, including Dave Barney as Chief Technology Officer and Chase Rigby as Chief Product Officer. Barney and Rigby both previously held positions at Google. Canopy has established a new engineering and development facility in Orange County, CA and a new office in Denver.

Kevin Sayer previously served in several roles at ProQuest, including as Senior Vice President and General Manager for Pro- Quest Books. His portfolio expanded into technology and software as he also gained responsibility for ProQuest Workflow Solutions. Sayer and Christopher Warnock co-founded e-book supplier ebrary in 1999, which was acquired by ProQuest in 2011.

Kanopy has become a major player in the video streaming arena for academic and public libraries. The company licenses video content from studios and distributors and makes it available on its streaming platform. Patrons of libraries that subscribe to Kanopy can view the content for free, with costs paid by the library. Public libraries pay a fee for each viewing, while academic libraries purchase subscriptions to titles through a demand-based acquisitions model. This free-toview business model has proven popular for library patrons, though it has been challenging for library budgets. New York Public Library, for example, cancelled its subscription this year due to its unsustainable costs.2 To address these concerns, Kanopy has introduced a subscription model that enables libraries to set a cap on their annual costs.

Sayer takes the reigns of Kanopy at a time when Kanopy has become well established as a content provider for libraries at a time of ever-increasing interest in video. The company has built an extensive catalog of titles and has agreements with over 1,300 libraries. With this new leadership and capital investment, it will be interesting to see how the next phase of Kanopy's business trajectory plays out in the library arena.


  1. Nancy Coleman, “New York City's Public Libraries to End Film Streaming Through Kanopy,” New York Times, June 24, 2019, /new-york-citys-libraries-drop-kanopy-streaming.html.
View Citation
Publication Year:2019
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 39 Number 12
Issue:December 2019
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Record Number:24783
Last Update:2023-01-25 10:53:55
Date Created:2019-12-21 12:45:58