Japan's SoftBank to Acquire Streaming Video Service DramaFever

Softbank Studio Grab - H 2014
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Softbank Studio Grab - H 2014

After its Legendary investment, the firm will buy the site for international TV shows and movies, whose backers include AMC Networks

Japan's SoftBank has agreed to acquire streaming video service DramaFever, the companies announced Tuesday.

After its investment in Legendary, SoftBank is buying the destination for premium international TV shows and movies via its SoftBank Internet and Media unit. The company recently also held takeover talks with DreamWorks Animation.

Read more Inside SoftBank's Studio Grab: Is a DreamWorks Deal Really Dead?

Founded in 2009, DramaFever says it has grown to become the largest online video destination for premium international TV shows and movies, with content from more than 70 major networks and studios throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Its subscription streaming service draws more than 20 million unique visitors a month with a broad roster of Korean dramas and Spanish-language fare, but also other content from around the world. Earlier this year, DramaFever said it would bring Spanish hit miniseries The Time In Between to American audiences for the first time, among other content deals.

The company's library currently includes 700 titles and 15,000 episodes. DramaFever also syndicates a portion of its library to Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.

Financial details of the SoftBank acquisition weren't disclosed.

Nikesh Arora, vice chair of SoftBank and CEO of SIMI, said: "We are delighted to welcome DramaFever to the SoftBank family and look forward to working with their talented team. In five short years since going live, DramaFever has built an impressive internet-based streaming video business operating at scale. Seung Bak and Suk Park have a proven business model in a dynamic industry, and we look forward to helping them bring their highly popular video content to an even larger global audience.”

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DramaFever co-founder and co-CEO Seung Bak said: "We have long had deep respect for [SoftBank] chairman Masayoshi Son and we are thrilled to be joining SoftBank at a time when Nikesh Arora will be leading a bold new venture for SIMI. Having operated as a young independent company to date, we believe we are positioned for unprecedented growth with the benefit of this new strategic partnership."

DramaFever has raised $12 million from such investors as SoftBank, AMC Networks, German media giant Bertelsmann and YouTube co-founder Steve Chen.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai