M&A Bridges the Gap Between Millennials and Television
Over the last few years, television has gradually lost its dominance as a source of entertainment, news and information. Viewers, and in particular the millennial generation, are now looking to digital platforms to access their favourite television shows, films, news broadcasts and sports fixtures. With this, television sets are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past, as viewers increasingly turn to laptops, tablets and other mobile devices.
Recognising the importance of this shift in the pattern of user behaviour, many major television networks are now sitting up and acknowledging that digital platforms are essential for attracting the younger audience that is beyond the reach of traditional media. As a result, the sector has seen a sharp rise in the number of deals taking place between network giants and digital platforms.
Here are some of the most prominent deals to take place over the last year.
Walt Disney and Vice Media
Favoured for its online videos and quirky content, Vice Media, the digital media and broadcasting company, has swiftly risen in popularity with both the young and older audiences. Founded in 1994, Vice’s increasing popularity, large audience and potential for advertisement revenue has positioned the company as an extremely attractive proposition for traditional media investors who are looking to broaden their reach.
While the family-orientated values of the Walt Disney company may not match Vice’s edgy brand, the final quarter of 2015 saw Disney purchase a $200m stake in Vice media. Just weeks later, Disney made a further investment of $200m, ahead of the launch of Vice’s first cable television channel. The $400m investment leaves Disney with an approximate nine per cent stake in the company.
NBCUniversal, BuzzFeed and Vox Media
NBCUniversal (NBCU), the result of a mega-merger in 2011 between General Electric’s National Broadcasting Company and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, has sought to expand its reach to viewers through investment in digital companies. Last year NBCU continued its strategic path to “buy millennials”, which culminated with the $200m investment in BuzzFeed, the internet media company renowned for its shareable content. In the same month, NBCU announced a similar deal with Vox Media, a digital publishing platform with eight editorial brands, making an investment of $200m.
Turner and Mashable
In the first quarter of 2016, Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner, made a $15m investment in digital publisher Mashable. Following the investment, Mashable formally launched its new viral prediction technology, Velocity, which uses algorithms and analytics to forecast how stories will be shared. With access to this technology and a strategic partnership in place, Turner will have access to a wider pool of content and will also help Mashable to expand its ability beyond quick social media hits.
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