Vancouver-based BroadbandTV is currently YouTube’s fifth largest multi-channel network, managing over 7,800 channels (under the banner of BroadbandTV and its sub-networks, like TGN and Viso) that generate upwards of 800 million video views per month worldwide. It’s also the latest multi-channel network to announce a significant influx of cash.
The online video company made known this week that the self described “leading European entertainment network” RTL Group made a $36 million investment in exchange for 51% of BroadbandTV’s shares. “RTL group was looking at the MCN space as we were just starting a round of financing,” explained BroadbandTV CEO Shahrzad Rafati over the phone. “We ended up meeting and felt that RTL group was the right fit. They bring significant enhancement in terms of resources, advertising sales, and infrastructure.”
RTL Group also brings an incredible portfolio of entertainment properties.
For those unfamiliar with the European-based global media conglom, it’s majority-owned by Gütersloh, Germany-based Bertlesmann, which is one of the largest multimedia companies in the world, employing some 100,000 workers in over 50 countries and in possession of subsidiaries like Random House and BMG. And RTL Group itself is the parent company of London-based Fremandle Media, the production company behind American Idol, The X-Factor, The Price is Right, Family Feud, and a number of other iconic entertainment properties (that are also tearing up the YouTube charts).
“RTL Group is definitely a global media company with a fantastic footprint,” said Rafati. “There are fantastic opportunities to work synergistically with their properties to cross-pollinate our businesses.”
One way in which that cross-pollination may take place is by leveraging BroadbandTV’s significant investment in technology (which is realized in their product VISO Catalyst) to accelerate the growth of RTL Group’s entertainment properties on YouTube. “We dedicate a full team of research staff that works with our software team to create products that help content owners and media companies grow both creatively and financially,” said Rafati.
In addition to all the collaborative possibilities, the investment will give BroadbandTV the ability to rapidly expand their footprint (new offices in New York, London, and Berlin are in the works), as well as their advertising sales, content acquisition, and talent teams, all of which, it will be doing independently.
“It’s very important to note that we’ll be operating independently,” explained Rafati. “That’s a big part of why we moved forward with RTL group. The culture we’ve cultivated at BroadbandTV is very important to us. We are keeping our flexibility, but benefit from the strong investment and have the opportunity to explore broadcasting, content, and a number of other activities.”