Thought RTL Group-owned Fremantle’s stake remains at 75%, the new cash ensures Divimove founders Brian Ruhe, Philipp Bernecker and Sebastiaan van Dam remain in their respective CEO, marketing and audience posts for another two years.
This is in stark contrast to RTL’s strategy with another European MCN, BroadbandTV, which has been placed on the block as the Bertelsmann-owned broadcaster decides whether to remain an investor.
Divimove’s top performing YouTube channels include those of Dutch social influencer Enzo Knol, German foodie Sallys Welt, and make-up guru Nikkie Tutorials.
In total, the business has a network of more than 1,200 partners, and counts 350 million social media fans in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland and France. Its channels attract a combined 1.5 billion views per month.
Fremantle first bought into the business in 2013, a year after it was established, before taking a majority stake in 2015.
Divimove management plans to use the new cash to develop more sophisticated media buying capabilities and performance tools for brands, plus to create new revenue stream opportunities such as live events and book publishing.
“The investment enables us to pursue our strong growth strategy by expanding our team and opening further local Divimove offices across Europe,” said chief exec Ruhe. “Our vision is to build a first-of-its-kind contemporary digital media company and to shape the future of online video.”
Divimove will also work “increasingly closely” with RTL Digital Hub, which bundles the digital businesses of the RTL Group, and will be fully consolidated into group accounts.
“In less than five years, Divimove went from a start-up digital business to become one of the leading European media companies in online video,” Keith Hindle, CEO of digital and branded entertainment, FremantleMedia. “They remain a step ahead of anyone else in the industry in creating opportunities for brands and influencers to thrive.”
The outlook for MCNs remains mixed, with Disney-owned Maker Studios recently axing dozens of channels, including that of controversial gamer PewDiePie, and staff amid financial difficulties; AwesomenessTV boss Brian Robbins leaving the business he co-founded after a premium video service with Verizon was dropped; and Jamie Oliver Group closing its suite of food-focused YouTube networks.