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RTL Group invests US$36m in YouTube network BroadbandTV

broadbandtv screenshotRTL Group has partnered with multi-channel YouTube content network BroadbandTV, putting US$36 million (€27.7 million) into the firm in the first of a string of planned investments. 

The deal, designed to increase RTL Group’s expansion in the online video market while upping BroadbandTV’s global growth strategy, gives RTL Group a 51% shareholding in BroadbandTV. RTL Group also takes three seats on the BroadbandTV board.

The firms said they will explore joint business opportunities in the “development of original content and advertising sales,” with the deal also giving RTL Group a platform to work on.

“As the leading European entertainment network, RTL Group is committed to becoming a major player in all segments of the rapidly growing online video market, and is ideally positioned to do so,” said Guillaume de Posch, co-CEO of RTL Group.

“Our major broadcasters have built leading catch-up TV services, while RTL Group’s global content arm, FremantleMedia, has become the highest-rated TV producer on YouTube, with 135 channels currently generating 400 million video views per month. Today, we are delighted to announce a partnership with BroadbandTV and Shahrzad Rafati that will further our development.”

BroadbandTV founder and CEO Shahrzad Rafati added: “BroadbandTV has been on a rapid growth trajectory since we began, and that pace will only accelerate with our partnership with RTL Group.

“Together, we have defined an ambitious growth plan fuelled by investments in technology, advertising sales, content, international expansion and talent. We have a shared vision to achieve market leadership in the digital space.”

Vancouver, Canada-based BroadbandTV is YouTube’s fifth largest Multi-Channel Network, managing more than 7,800 channels and generating 800 million video views per month. Founded in 2005, its network brands include VISO and TGN and works with content creators ranging from independent video entrepreneurs such as Element Animation, to well-established media brands such as Discovery Communications.