Business News Deals Digital

London’s leading MCNs merge

By | Published on Wednesday 9 July 2014


Ah, multi-channel networks; sort of the record labels of the YouTube ecosystem, signing up and supporting new video-making talent, or managing video channels for existing brands and celebs, with the aim of getting all involved more viewers, and more ad revenue.

The MCNs have been busy signing up talent for a few years now. If they’re the labels of YouTube, I wonder if they have started screwing over and dropping any of that talent yet? Hey, only joking label people, you’re all lovely.

Anyway, while the big MCN action has mainly been in the US to date, a deal between two London-based companies has created a major player. Rightster has bought Base79, run by Ashley MacKenzie, son of often controversial former Sun Editor Kelvin, in a £50 million deal.

Base79’s client base has included various music players, including Domino Records, Ministry Of Sound, Syco, SBTV and 4Music. As part of the deal, its Chief Content Officer, Patrick Walker, a former YouTube director, will join the Rightster executive team.

In addition to the Base79 acquisition, Rightster also announced yesterday that it was buying video management and licensing firm Viral Spiral, and that YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley was becoming a shareholder.

Commenting on all this, Rightster founder and CEO Charlie Muirhead said: “Acquiring Base79 and Viral Spiral is transformational for Rightster. Importantly, this greater scale and expertise improves the service we will be able to offer creators and publishers, improving our ability to both grow audiences and increase monetisation and positions us as a global leader in the exploding online video market for brands and media agencies”.