A spot of acquisition news in Europe’s digital video distribution space. Rightster, a U.K. video distribution and monetisation startup has made its first acquisition — buying European branded content marketing platform and movie trailer distributor, Preview Networks, for an undisclosed sum. Rightster said the acquisition will bring major movie distributors, mainstream media agencies and brands including Disney, Havaianas, MTV, Peugeot and Sony onto its books, and bolster its global YouTube Multi Channel Network footprint — enabling it to roll out its YouTube services across Europe.
As of December, Rightster said it has revenues of $1.5 million per month, and has raised $25 million to-date from angel investors including former IBM executive Greg Lock, and the Chadha family. It said it has begun discussions about a $30 million Series C fundraising round — which it hopes to complete in the second quarter. Rightster was founded in May 2011, and now employs 220 people in 12 offices around the world. According to the FT, Rightser is raising a new round to double its R&D team to “about 200 people and extend its rollout across Asia, the US and Latin America”.
Commenting on the Preview Networks acquisition in a statement Rightster said:
Preview Networks, with 35 employees, will add more than 300 rights holders and 2,500 publishers including Disney, MTV and Sony, while extending Rightster’s presence in France, Germany, Italy and Spain as well as the Nordic markets. Rightster is becoming the leading distributor of movie trailers in Europe which provides an excellent platform for the company to broaden the services it offer to this industry as well as extending the reach of the Rightster Sports, Fashion and News solutions across Europe.
Here’s how Preview Networks describes its services on its website:
Preview Networks is a content marketing platform for brands and content aggregation and syndication platform for publishers. We provide the tools for brands to centrally distribute and manage marketing and PR content across media destinations, devices, and commerce platforms; and for publishers to automate content acquisition delivering audience and advertising revenue growth.
Back in October, Rightster announced it had passed 100 million YouTube monthly views, moving up from 16th to 11th position in comScore’s YouTube Partner Channels rankings. It has now describes itself as YouTube’s ninth-largest partner — and its second fastest growing one.
Also today, Rightster announced the appointment of Skype’s Scott Leishman as Global VP of Talent and Resourcing — to support its expansion plans.
In an additional announcement Rightster said it has secured the rights to offer live and on demand Australian Football League games outside Australia and New Zealand.
Other Rightster customers include: “IMG Fashion, which has given it exclusive rights to stream New York Fashion Week; ITN, for which it distributed footage of the royal wedding to 1.5m viewers in 12 countries; and Viral Spiral, a hub for viral videos which manages the Charlie Bit My Finger viral amongst others”.
Rightster’s Preview Networks acquisition release follows below in full.
Rightster Acquires Preview Networks to Accelerate Pan-European Expansion of YouTube Services across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Nordics
Acquisition creates one of the largest YouTube Multi-Channel Network (MCN) footprints, providing audience development, direct media sales and global account management services in 7 languages
LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rightster, the video distribution and monetisation specialist, today announces the acquisition of Preview Networks, the leading international provider of digital distribution services for the movie industry. The deal extends Rightster’s YouTube services across Europe and makes Rightster the leading distributor of movie trailers in this region. Preview Networks brings over 300 content rights holders and 2500 publishers to Rightster’s global community and broadens Rightster’s geographic presence in key European markets including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Nordics.
Rightster will welcome the addition of Preview Network’s client roster that includes many major movie distributors, mainstream media agencies, and brands such as Disney, Havaianas, MTV, Peugeot and Sony. The deal will allow Rightster to extend its YouTube management and direct media sales capabilities while also enriching and strengthening the solutions it offers to the movie industry.
Rightster’s experience and expertise in digital distribution will be enhanced by the arrival of key talent from the former Preview Networks management team including Andy Chen, Preview Networks CEO, Charles Delamain, COO, Patrick Rodies, CTO and Peter Vilhelmsen, CFO. This group alone brings a combined digital media experience of 28 years and IT experience of 23 years.
Charlie Muirhead, Founder and CEO of Rightster comments, “Our mission is to simplify the complex business of online video by providing the very best distribution, marketing and monetisation services in the industry. The acquisition of Preview Networks strengthens Rightster’s YouTube video syndication strategy by providing access to local networks in Europe and will allow us to extend the reach of our solutions for Fashion, News and Sports industries.”
Andy Chen, CEO of Preview Networks, comments “The Rightster acquisition is a significant milestone in the story of Preview Networks. Over the past two years we have successfully leveraged our film and entertainment content syndication expertise into the branded content and online advertising space, where video will continue to evolve and dominate. This compliments Rightster’s verticals and overall global strategy. We couldn’t be happier to join forces with the Rightster team.”