Sky, Channel 4 Buy Stakes in TV Rights Online Platform

Courtesy of Sky


The RightsXchange, or TRX, enables TV rights buyers and sellers from around the world to complete licensing deals entirely online.

Pan-European pay TV giant Sky and U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 on Thursday unveiled investments in the company behind The RightsXchange (TRX), which enables TV rights buyers and sellers from around the world to complete licensing deals entirely online.

The company said its latest financing round will raise up to £5.20 million ($6.75 million) and give the two investors minority stakes of an undisclosed size. The round also includes investments from private individuals, many of whom have participated in previous funding rounds.

Its tool "enables distributors to reach buyers in new international markets, who in turn gain access to British, American and other TV rights that would previously have been difficult to secure," according to the company. It soft-launched the service in Asia last month and said it already has more than 5,000 hours of programming available from U.K. and U.S. distributors and rights holders such as Sky Vision, Discovery Communications, All3Media International and Sesame Workshop.

Dial Square 86, the holding company behind TRX, was established in 2014 by former RDF Media founders and Zodiak Media executives David and Matthew Frank. TRX's advisory board includes such key TV industry figures as Studio Lambert CEO Stephen Lambert and Nadine Nohr, the former CEO of Shine International.

The deal marks the first time Sky and Channel 4 have co-invested in a startup. Sky has been buying stakes in technology and other startup companies. Its distribution arm Sky Vision also will use the TRX tool. Channel 4 made its investment via its Indie Growth Fund, which is backing content producers and other firms. It said the TRX investment will support "the future health of the U.K. indie sector."

"We are absolutely delighted that two of the U.K.'s leading content players with such reputations for innovation and excellence have decided to back what we are doing," said TRX chairman David Frank. "There is real momentum behind TRX now and we're excited about launching a truly global product that can make program distribution faster and easier, while opening up the TV rights market to previously disenfranchised buyers and delivering extra value to rights holders."

Said Emma Lloyd, group business development director at Sky: "This latest investment reflects our ambition to partner with pioneering startups that can help transform the TV landscape. We're delighted to be backing such an innovative U.K.-based company, with its roots firmly in the creative sector. Together with Channel 4, we can help TRX to grow the TV rights market, which will benefit everyone in the industry."

Said Channel 4 CEO David Abraham: "In post-Brexit Britain, it's even more important for the U.K.'s creative industries to have access to innovative ways of trading across the globe. We recognize that the new TRX tool is a valuable online resource, which will enable indies to connect with the world and export their programs in a digital marketplace and will help support a buoyant U.K. indie sector well into the future."