U.K.'s Channel 4 Buys Stake in Multimedia Company Behind Bear Grylls YouTube Channel

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Bear Grylls

Barcroft creates news and factual content for the likes of MTV, Discovery and TLC.

British broadcaster Channel 4 has acquired a minority stake in multimedia content company Barcroft Holdings, whose work includes the Bear Grylls Adventure YouTube channel, it was announced Thursday.

Financial terms weren't detailed. The deal marks the first investment by Channel 4's Growth Fund in a company that extends its portfolio beyond traditional U.K. independent production companies. The broadcaster said it hopes to help "develop the U.K.’s influence in the global digital market" with the deal.

Barcroft creates, licenses, distributes and publishes news and factual multimedia content featuring what it calls "the amazing side of life." The company has created linear and digital TV programming for such networks as MTV (recently announced The Outsiders), TLC (Body Bizarre), Discovery (Bear Grylls: Man vs. Everest) and Channel 4 (Inside the KKK). Barcroft TV's YouTube channel has over 2 million subscribers and more than 1.8 billion views.

"As Channel 4’s growth in online and commercial innovation continues apace, it’s an exciting time for our Indie Growth Fund to make its first investment in a future-facing business with both content creation and multiplatform distribution capabilities," said Channel 4 CEO David Abraham. "Barcroft’s ability to connect with younger audiences globally, and their work with different formats, platforms and brands, aligns with our own commercial growth and we look forward to sharing our expertise to help Barcroft grow and to develop 4’s wider digital strategy."

Said Barcroft CEO Sam Barcroft: “The Barcroft businesses have grown quickly, particularly over the past two years. The time is now right to build out our content and distribution offering, particularly in television production and the branded content space through Barcroft Plus. For many years Channel 4 has proven that successful disruption at scale and constant innovation are its core strengths, which makes them the perfect partner for us.”

Founded in 2003, Barcroft has headquarters in London and offices in Delhi and New York.