As YouTube gets ready to make another round of investments into produced content for its video network, Base79, its largest partner in Europe with over 550 million views of its online video content per month, is picking up some investment of its own. The company is today announcing an investment of $10 million led by the Chernin Group, the holding company founded by media veteran Peter Chernin, along with participation from existing investor MMC Ventures. The funding brings the total raised by Base79 to $14.35 million.
The Chernin investment is strategic on two sides.
It could give Base79 entry to working with other companies connected to Chernin. These include Pandora, Fullscreen, Tumblr and Flipboard, companies that, like YouTube, also play a role in aggregating content and in some cases video services. Online video is becoming an increasingly hot commodity, with networks and technology finally up to scratch to deliver decent experiences on desktop and mobile devices to mass markets, which are eating up the content and moving away from traditional TV other legacy video services.
On the other hand, it gives Chernin a foothold in a company strong in online video and in Europe, two areas not yet tackled as strongly in its portfolio. The Chernin Group last week also announced an investment for itself, from Qatar Holding, in a deal thought to be worth some $100 million.
Base79 was founded by Ashley MacKenzie, the son of one of the UK’s most colorful media figures, Kelvin MacKenzie, who would have potentially rubbed shoulders with Chernin at News Corp., where Chernin was an executive and MacKenzie was editor of one of the company’s biggest tabloids in the UK, The Sun. Later, MacKenzie worked at the company’s pay-TV company, BSkyB, before leaving to work for the Mirror Group of newspapers. The elder MacKenzie is chairman of Base79, while son Ashley is the CEO.
Base79 says that it will be using the funds to expand its YouTube channels to cover markets across Europe and into other territories, as well as make further moves into developing original content.
Currently, the bulk of Base79’s business is around content produced for YouTube in partnership with other big media brands and channels — some 300 premium content partners in all. These include BBC Worldwide, Endemol’s Tiger Aspect, IMG Media, Simon Cowell’s SyCo, Ministry of Sound, Guinness World Records as well as those who have become YouTube sensations. In all, the company says it generates over 550 million views per month covering 550 channels on YouTube, making it the largest YouTube multi-channel network based in the UK.
The funds will also be used for technology investments. The company is already operational in London, New York and Sydney, Australia.
More to come. Release below. Refresh for updates.
BASE79 ANNOUNCES NEW INVESTMENT FROM THE CHERNIN GROUP
LONDON, UK – 14th November 2012 – Base79, one of Europe’s leading online video companies and the largest YouTube network in the Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) region, today announced that it has received a strategic equity investment from The Chernin Group (“TCG”), alongside continued participation from existing investor MMC Ventures. Proceeds from the round will be used to accelerate Base79’s expansion across Europe and into other global territories, to build owned-and-operated brands and channels, and to invest in the Company’s products and technology. Founded in 2007, the Company has offices in London, New York and Sydney, and has plans to increase its presence in continental Europe within the next 12 months.
Base79 partners with leading video rights holders and producers to build online audiences and brands, claim and protect their intellectual property, sell premium advertising, and generate new revenue streams on YouTube and other OTT platforms. The Company’s proprietary technology and processes for increasing YouTube channel subscribers and views, and establishing ad sales leadership, enables its clients to significantly increase their reach and revenues in online video. With more than 300 premium content partners, including BBC Worldwide, Endemol’s Tiger Aspect, IMG Media, Simon Cowell’s SyCo, Ministry of Sound, Guinness World Records as well as a number of leading YouTube content creators, Base79 generates more than 550 million views per month across nearly 550 channels on YouTube, and is the largest YouTube multi-channel network based in the UK. Base79 recently received four original programming grants from YouTube, more than any other company in Europe.
“We’re thrilled to receive this additional investment and recognition for our business from The Chernin Group, in addition to ongoing support from MMC Ventures. TCG’s industry leading expertise and track record in content, digital media, brand building, international expansion and monetization will be invaluable as we accelerate the Company’s international growth and distribution of premium video content across multiple platforms and devices,” said Ashley MacKenzie, founder and CEO of Base79. “We have experienced extraordinary growth and believe this partnership will allow a new chapter of even greater opportunity.”
“Base79 has established itself as one of the clear leaders in online video, an exciting space that we believe is positioned to grow faster than any other area of media,” said Peter Chernin, founder & CEO of TCG. “Base79 is one of Europe’s fastest-growing young media companies, and we look forward to partnering with the Company and its management team to help build on its vision and capitalize on further opportunities for growth.”
Alex Carloss, YouTube’s Global Head of Entertainment, said: “We view The Chernin Group’s investment in a key partner like Base79 as a sign of the growth of the YouTube ecosystem in Europe. Base79’s deep expertise in rights management and the YouTube platform will continue to help partners control and grow their content businesses on YouTube.”
Bruce Macfarlane, Managing Partner, MMC Ventures, said: “MMC Ventures has always believed in Base79 – its concept, technology, and team – and have been excited to invest from an early stage. We are therefore delighted to be continuing our support for Base79, alongside The Chernin Group, and look forward to its further growth and success.”
In October 2012, after securing four new channel partnerships as a part of YouTube’s new original channels initiative, Base79 announced that it had become Europe’s largest YouTube original programming partner. The four new channels resulting from the partnership are:
With leading sports media company IMG as a key content producer, Slash Football is a premium video football network centered and driven by football fans. Base79 will create a series of programs that focus on and appeal to football fans, providing real, reactive and opinionated views and discussions.
Flow is a celebration of movement sports, in particular parkour. It brings together compelling new content from the world’s best urban movement athletes, powered by Base79′s parkour hub of more than 60 athletes and free-running content creators. Flow is a brand and platform to inspire and encourage young people to be active and adventurous.
– Guinness World Records: OMG!, from Base79 and Guinness World Records “Guinness World Records: OMG!” is a new YouTube channel highlighting YouTube stars who challenge and encounter record-breaking people and places. The channel features 100% new and original material from the legendary arbiter of all things record-setting and record-breaking.
– Bad Teeth, from Base79 and Hat Trick Productions
Bringing sketches, animation, and celebrity guest-hosted pranks together for a thoroughly entertaining experience, Bad Teeth blends the funniest and most popular YouTube stars with mainstream celebrities from the Hat Trick stable to create unexpected, water-cooler content people will want to share.
Base79 is one of Europe’s leading online video companies and the largest YouTube network in the Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) region. The Company has more than 300 content partners and generates more than 550 million video views monthly across over 550 channels. Base79 has a unique rights management technology that optimizes audience reach and revenue generation for its content partners. Founded in 2007, the Company has offices in London, New York and Sydney, and has plans to expand into continental Europe within the next 12 months.
About The Chernin Group
The Chernin Group LLC (TCG) is a privately held, independent media holding company based in Los Angeles, CA founded by Peter Chernin. TCG has built, managed, operated, and invested in businesses in the media, entertainment, and technology sectors around the world since 2010. TCG’s assets include Chernin Entertainment, which produces feature films and television programs; a majority stake in Hong Kong-based CA Media, which builds, manages, and operates media, entertainment, and technology businesses across Asia; and several strategic investments in technology and media companies in the United States. Providence Equity Partners LLC, Qatar Holding LLC, and other shareholders are strategic partners of and investors in TCG.
About MMC Ventures
Founded in 2000, MMC Ventures is an active investor and award-winning venture fund manager, focused on technology-enabled sectors where the UK is a world leader – particularly financial and business services, business software, digital media and e-commerce. Having raised a total of approx £100 million, MMC invests around £10 million per annum, in a combination of new investments and add-on capital for existing portfolio companies. MMC specialises in fast-growth early-stage UK-based businesses, partnering with entrepreneurs and impressive management teams to achieve substantial scale and profitability. MMC’s existing portfolio includes Alex and Alexa, Base79, Interactive Investor, Knowledge Mill, LoveHomeSwap and Reevoo. http://www.mmcventures.com