European entertainment network RTL Group has formed a strategic partnership with Vancouver-based online video company BroadbandTV. RTL Group’s initial investment of €27 million for a 51 per cent stake is part of a planned series of investments in the company. The business partnership between the two companies creates a new platform for RTL Group’s digital strategy and allows the management team of BroadbandTV, led by Founder and CEO Shahrzad Rafati, to accelerate its global growth strategy.
Founded in 2005, BroadbandTV first entered the online video market with a creative solution for helping large media organisations benefit from a new revenue stream: the company’s technology detects videos which had been uploaded by fans on YouTube, and offers the organisations that own the IP a tool for monetising the content. BroadbandTV has since expanded its portfolio to include tools for the management, optimisation, protection and monetisation of video content, and its target audiences to include media companies, content creators and advertisers.
BroadbandTV now works with more than 7,800 independent channel partners through its network brands VISO and TGN. The company drives success for content creators of all sizes, from independent video entrepreneurs such as Element Animation, to well-established media brands such as Discovery Communications.
The number of video views to BroadbandTV sites grew by 169 per cent year-on-year, reaching 2.1 billion views in the first quarter of 2013 alone.
Guillaume de Posch, Co-CEO of RTL Group, said that as a leading European entertainment network, RTL Group was committed to becoming a major player in all segments of the rapidly growing online video market, and was “ideally positioned” to do so. “Our major broadcasters have built leading catch-up TV services, while RTL Group’s global content arm, FremantleMedia, has become the highest-rated TV producer on YouTube, with 135 channels currently generating 400 million video views per month. Today, we are delighted to announce a partnership with BroadbandTV and Shahrzad Rafati that will further our development.
BroadbandTV is one of the most innovative companies in the YouTube ecosystem. RTL Group’s track record of allowing our businesses to be run autonomously by entrepreneurs means that BroadbandTV can maintain its culture and flexibility, while benefiting from our strong investment and partnership to drive continued growth,” he confirmed.
Shahrzad Rafati, Founder and CEO of BroadbandTV, said his company had been on a rapid growth trajectory since it began, and that pace would only accelerate with the RTL Group partnership. “We are thrilled to have the powerful resources of RTL Group behind us. In addition to the competitive advantage for BroadbandTV, our customers and partners will benefit greatly from RTL Group’s global reach, advertising sales and expertise in producing amazing content. Our skill sets are complementary and we share mutual goals. Together, we have defined an ambitious growth plan fuelled by investments in technology, advertising sales, content, international expansion and talent. We have a shared vision to achieve market leadership in the digital space. Above all, what inspires me about this new partnership is that, even more than ever, it will enable content owners and creators across the globe to achieve their ambitious goals, which is one of the key reasons for BroadbandTV’s existence,”he added.
Following the transaction, RTL Group holds a 51 per cent shareholding in BroadbandTV. In addition, RTL Group will appoint three members to the Board of BroadbandTV. RTL Group’s operations and BroadbandTV will explore joint business opportunities in areas such as development of original content and advertising sales, further strengthening RTL Group’s position in the online video market.