Sky buys into US MCN

Sky has made an investment of US$300,000 via a convertible debt security in US OTT niche channel startup TV4 Entertainment.

TV4 owns a portfolio of special-interest television channels aimed at niche audiences and has distribution agreements with a range of US online TV platforms including Hulu, Amazon, Sony, Vimeo, YouTube and Roku.

The company aggregates video content from more than 200 content partners and holds licenses to over 5,000 feature length and short form titles as well as many TV and web series.

TV4 owns a dozen channels currently, with 30 further services in development. The current line-up includes DocComTV aimed at documentary devotees; All Warrior Network for fans of the warrior genre; Motorland, a video network for automotive enthusiasts; the Ultimate Champion Network, which has programming for combat sports fans; and The Clarity Project, a channel exploring child illness.

Sky said that its investment builds on its ongoing programme of investing in innovative startups that help it bring new ideas, insight and services into its business, including online sports network Whistle Sports; Pluto TV, the online video aggregator; and the US ad tech firm Sharethrough.

Emma Lloyd, director, corporate business development, Sky, said: “This exciting investment will help us develop our understanding of niche content genres and what audiences are most passionate about. We are committed to developing partnerships right across our business that support and extend our leadership position in content and innovation. We look forward to working with the team at TV4 Entertainment as they continue to grow.”

Jon Cody, founder and CEO, TV4 Entertainment, said: “Our goal in this round of investment was to bring on strategic global investors that could unlock business opportunities as we expand internationally over the next year. Bringing Europe’s top entertainment company in Sky into the TV4Entertainment family is the perfect fit for this mandate. We look forward to growing the value of the Company for our shareholders while bringing tomorrow’s television to viewers across the globe today.”

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