France’s TF1 and Italy’s Mediaset Join Collective Digital Platform Studio71 – Variety
ROME – Studio71, the multi-channel network controlled by German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 has forged partnerships with French TV network TF1 Group and Italy’s Mediaset, which have become minority shareholders in the company, forming a European alliance in the advertising-video-on-demand sector.
TF1 has taken a 6.1% stake in Studio71, while Mediaset has taken an initial 5.5% chunk for a combined investment of 53 million euros ($56 million). ProSiebenSat retains about 70% of Studio71 shares, according to a statement.
The deal values Studio71 at roughly 400 million euros ($425 million).
The entry of these two top European generalist broadcasters will seeÂ Studio71 expand by setting up local operations in France and Italy. As part of the agreement Studio71 will acquire a strategic minority interest in premium multi-channel network Finder Studios, which is controlled by TF1 Group. Under the Mediaset partnership, Mediaset’s Publitalia80 unit will become the exclusive sales agent for Studio71 advertising in Italy.
Each new Studio71 platform will feature content from TF1 and Mediaset’s top-rated TV shows as well as content from Studio71âs top creators.
The stated business model for the expansion will seek to replicate the success ofÂ Studio71 in Germany, which is based on the winning mix of ProSiebenSat.1 Groupâs Â TV hits like Germany’s version of “The Voice,” combined with top online content from leading local creators, such Gronkh, who is Germany’s number one gamer.
Studio71, which is headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in New York, Berlin, Toronto and London, has some 1,200 channels and generates around sixÂ billion views on YouTube alone, according to the company.
The network will now use proceeds from the deal “toÂ fund additional premium content and IP as well as further territory expansion,” the statement said.
âThe partnership with TF1 Group and Mediaset gives us access to key European markets where the online video market is just now picking up momentum and promising significant potential,” noted Christof Wahl, Member of the Executive Board, Digital, and COO ProSiebenSat.1 Group.
“By taking a stake in Studio71, the TF1 group is positioning itself in the global digital ecosystem alongside two of Europeâs leading media groups,” said Olivier Abecassis, Vice President for Innovation and Digital at the TF1 Group. “And by becoming the operator of Studio71 France, we are bolstering our presence in multi-platform premium online video, and our status as a key partner for emerging web creatives,â he added.
In November, Studio71 signed a licensing deal withÂ Chinese digital content aggregator ByteDance, under whichÂ Studio71âs content will be subtitled in Chinese and carried on ByteDanceâs Top Buzz platform.
This pan-European alliance of prominent generalist broadcasters in the AVOD sphere has particular significance for Mediaset, comingÂ after the recent collapse of a partnership deal between Mediaset and French media conglomerate Vivendi. That partnership had been touted as the start of a potential pan-European SVOD giant.Â TF1Â is owned by conglomerate Bouygues SA, aÂ rivalÂ ofÂ Vivendi.
For Mediaset, the AVOD alliance with Studio71 marks a departure from the classic business model of offering scripted content forÂ a monthly fee, as practiced by its loss-making Mediaset Premium pay-TV operation, and is the first move made by the broadcaster’s newly launched digital unit.
âWe join a digital global partner like Studio71 – with a deep broadcaster DNA – in order to build a leading player in the Italian market for the editorial management and monetization of digital talents, to maximize the distribution of Mediaset TV contents on Internet, and to boost synergies between TV and web,â saidÂ Pierpaolo Cervi, Mediaset’s Chief Digital Officer.
Prominent European broadcasters have a competitive edge in the AVOD arena in terms of creating entertainment content, generating value from new talents, and also collecting advertising, a Mediaset statement noted.
Studio71 was formed by the merger of Collective Digital Studio (founded by Reza Izad, Michael Green and Dan Weinstein), and ProSiebenSat.1 Groupâs Studio71 (founded by Sebastian Weil and Ronald Horstman). It is currently the world’s fourth largest multi-channel network, according to the company.
It has deals with Facebook, Watchable, Go90, Liberty Global, YouTube Red, ZDF, Canal Plus, and Live.me, among others. It also has a deal in place withÂ Paramountâs Worldwide Television Licensing & Distribution and Acquisitions division for films from the studioâs digital influencers.
Its roster of creators includes Vitaly ZdorovetskiyÂ (9.2 million subscribers),Â Epic Meal TimeÂ (7 million subscribers),Â Matthew SantoroÂ (5.6 million subscribers),Â Tana MongeauÂ (2 million subscribers), andÂ Logan PaulÂ (13 million Facebook followers).