European TV broadcaster RTL is the latest traditional media broadcaster to get into new media with their acquisition of a 51 percent stake in BroadbandTV, the fifth-largest multi-channel network on YouTube.
The Financial Times reported that RTL bought part of BroadbandTV for $36 million and is the first non-US broadcaster to invest in multi-channel networks. Based in Vancouver, Canada, BroadbandTV has 7,800 channels under its wing and counts 800 million video views per month.
In a statement, founder and CEO Shahrzad Rafati said that BroadbandTV has experienced rapid growth since it was founded in 2005 and can only see more growth under RTL: “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.”
Many prominent media companies are looking to digital video for future entertainment growth. Recent examples of traditional media investing in new media include Time Warner’s $25 million investment in Maker Studios last year and a consortium of investors like Comcast closing a round of funding for Fullscreen.
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