Again, the MCN world sleeps for no one. We are seeing a constant barrage of major strategic developments in the world of short-form video and mobile/digital-first strategies.
Another major data point? Leading sports-focused MCN Whistle Sports (an MDM client we profiled in last month’s MDM newsletter). Still early in its first quarter (it only launched this past January), Whistle Sports just received another $7 million investment from UK-based broadcasting giant BSKYB. And, expect more significant sums coming soon to Whistle Sports as part of its Series B round.
This strategic investment is particularly notable because it represents the growing internationalism of MCNs—it isn’t just for U.S.-based media companies anymore. Let’s not forget German-based media giant ProSieben’s major investment in Collective Digital Studio and in its own Euro-based Studio71, which now aims to expand across the pond to the United States. And, the rationale in this case is clear (just as it is in the case of StyleHaul). Language is rarely a barrier with sports-focused content, meaning that sports (just like fashion) travels well. And, BSKYB—already heavily and long-invested in sports—can help to accelerate Whistle Sports’ international expansion (while it itself begins to play more aggressively in the mobile and digital-first content world, just as all other major “traditional” media companies need to be). Whistle Sports—which bills itself as being a digital and mobile-first ESPN for Millennials, by Millennials—had just recently opened a London office.
Whistle Sports now scores 8+ million subscribers and 1.25+ billion video views, despite the fact that it is still early in its game. That means that its growth is impressive. BSKYB’s investment brings the company’s overall investment to $25 million from longtime media giant Bob Pittman and others. And, importantly, Whistle Sports has partnerships with virtually all major U.S. sports leagues, including the NFL and the MLB. Impressive.