Screen Media Ventures is adapting the free-to-play business model from games to its streaming movie service in a partnership with mobile monetization firm Tapjoy.

popcornflix 2Free-to-play has fueled the growth of gaming on social and mobile platforms. Tapjoy hopes that its companion business model, free-to-use, will help fuel the rise of other apps. With free-to-use, consumers can enjoy free content in movies, communications, sports, or other kinds of apps without paying money. But they wind up paying for it by performing an action such as watching a video ad or signing up for a service.

So far, free-to-play has worked best in games. But Tapjoy, under the leadership of new chief executive Steve Wadsworth, seeks to expand its reach into other kinds of entertainment. So Screen Media Ventures and Tapjoy are launching PopcornflixGold, a free-to-use app for Android mobile devices where you can watch 400 high-quality movies.

Digital entertainment companies are still struggling to make money on mobile. Last month, Pandora announced a cap on listening to songs from a mobile device, limiting consumers to 40 hours per month with a charge of 99 cents thereafter.

Starting today, PopcornflixGold viewers can download movies on Google Play and earn virtual rewards, dubbed FlixPoints, by engaging with the in-app advertising of their choice from the Tapjoy Marketplace. Tapjoy enables companies to make money from offers, or special ads where a viewer gets something in exchange for taking an action such as watching an ad. That earns the user virtual rewards that they can spend on watching more feature-length movies.

Rob Barnett, the head of publisher development at Tapjoy, said the Tapjoy model, dubbed the Tapjoy Mobile Value Exchange, will translate well from its proven ground in games to the new premium content such as movies.

Gary Delfiner, the president of Screen Media Digital, a division of Screen Media Ventures, said he hopes the new model will kick-start a new way for people to watch better movies without paying money outright.

With PopcornflixGold, fans can search movies by genre, actor or director, select from the latest in new arrivals, choose from the site’s most popular films, or browse all of the movies. Each month, PopcornflixGold will add 30 to 40 movies.

PopcornflixGold was jointly developed by Curious Brain, Screen Media Ventures, and Tapjoy.