Today brought another huge investment in a YouTube-based network from a large traditional media player. Except, the MCN receiving $36 million is one that you might not have heard of.
BroadbandTV, based out of Vancouver, is the fifth-largest MCN with a network of more than 7,800 channel partners altogether averaging 800 million views per month. Founded in 2005 by Shahrzad Rafati, the startup initially offered a video monetization tool that allows media companies to find their IP on YouTube and monetize it. Since then, the company has expanded its partner network to include YouTube creators and advertisers.
The $36 million investment — the first in a “planned series of investments” — comes from European broadcaster RTL Group, which is acquiring a 51 percent stake in the MCN.
The partnership will focus on developing original content and expanding ad sales. “Our customers and partners will benefit greatly from RTL Group’s global reach, advertising sales, and expertise in producing amazing content,” said Rafati in a statement, acknowledging RTL’s ownership of FremantleMedia, the producer of “American Idol” and “X-Factor.” As part of the investment, BroadbandTV will add three RTL executives to its board.
RTL is owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, which has a digital media investment arm that earlier this year invested $6.5 million in StyleHaul, the largest fashion-and-beauty MCN on YouTube. Then last month, RTL itself pumped in an additional $6 million into StyleHaul.