India's Zee Group Invests in U.K. Product Placement Company MirriAd
NEW DELHI – U.K.-based digital brand integration specialist MirriAd announced Thursday that it has received a $5.4 million (£3.6 million) strategic investment, with $4.5 million (£3 million) coming from Indian media group Zee and its subsidiary Asia Today Ltd.
The party accounting for the remaining $900,000 in the deal was not disclosed by MirriAd or Zee.
The deal was led by Zee Group chairman Subhash Chandra and brokered by its CEO David Glick, along with existing shareholder Edge Investment Management.
Chandra is one of India's most successful businessman with interests encompassing media, telecoms, theme parks, online gaming, packaging and commodities, among others. The Zee broadcasting network he founded 20 years ago now operates globally and is one of the largest media businesses in Asia.
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The strategic investment between Zee and ATL will see MirriAd deployed across India and other markets in the Asia region on broadcast, cable and satellite. This follows campaigns by Zee TV in the U.K., which used MirriAd technology to integrate U.K. brands into the Indian-produced popular daily soap Pavitra Rishta. Zee has 400,000 hours of programming available in six languages across the world and says it aims to double its current reach of 670 million viewers in the 169 countries to which it broadcasts.
Product placement has historically been realized at the point of production. MirriAd’s digital solution allows brands to be integrated into programming remotely and independently of production schedules.
“With a high GDP growth rate and a population of over 1.21 billion, India is a must-have market for brands. Edge is an active and supportive investor with immense entertainment industry knowledge, and to have Subhash Chandra together with Zee and ATL commit to our future is a significant endorsement of our vision,” said MirriAd CEO Mark Popkiewicz.
“MirriAd’s technology offers Zee and ATL a great opportunity to integrate locally relevant brands across all our territories, and who knows, we might even be able to create an ad-free channel before long,” added Chandra.
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“With deregulation of product placement taking place around the world, the potential is enormous. We are delighted to welcome a businessman of the caliber of Subhash Chandra on board as a co-investor,” said Glick.
According to the latest data from research group PQ Media, the global product placement market increased 9.8 percent to $7.4 billion in 2011 and is estimated to have grown even faster last year. The U.S. remains the world’s largest market with a value of $4.3 billion. However, China is the fastest-growing market, according to the research group, with product placement up 26.6 percent in 2011.