In the streaming era, it is more difficult to get data about the number of viewers and popularity of a program. It's no longer that easy to set up a Nielsen box to receive data about a show that can be viewed on TVs, phones, tablets, and the Internet. One company that solves this problem for content owners, broadcasters and streamers alike is Whip Media Group, the parent company of the TV and movie tracking app TV Time. The company announced today that it has raised $ 50 million in Series D funds to further grow its business.
The round was led by the wealth management company Eminence Capital and included the participation of Raine Ventures. So far, the Whip Media Group has raised $ 115 million from Raine Ventures, Eminence, IVP and others.
The Whip Media Group has a varied history. TV Time started out as WhipClip, a source for a legal collection of GIFs from favorite shows. However, after the takeover of the French startup TVShow Time in December 2016, the company developed into a social TV community. With the TV Time app, users can track their favorite shows by marking episodes as watched and join the show community in the app where users discuss the episode. Share photos, screencaps and memes; Make surveys; and more. The referral feature also helps users find more things to look at.
The company was renamed Whip Media Group to show that it now houses a handful of companies, including the TV Time app and TheTVDB, an entertainment database for TV and films, and more recently the content value management platform Mediamorph.
Although consumers only interact with the TV Time app, these engagements help drive Whip Media Group's larger business.
Today, the TV Time app has between 800,000 and one million active users a day. And 50% of users provide some type of data – for example, after a show, create content, like another user's post, review an episode, comment, and so on. So far, TV Time has recorded more than 15 billion episodes.
TV Time initially used this data to develop a novel rating system for the age of cable cutting. But TV Time has learned that a show's ratings for video-on-demand services that do not sell ads do not matter. Instead, TV Time was able to provide emotional data about how users reacted to programs.
"By collecting [this data] With these models, we can not only say what people see, but also predict what they will see next, ”said Richard Rosenblatt, CEO of Whip Media Group.
In addition, engagement data can help streamers find out things they have never known before – for example, at which moment in an episode the interest of users has increased tremendously, ie at the moment of memory. This data can also help them to better market the show than to help them think about the direction of the show for the coming seasons.
With the acquisition of Mediamorph, the Whip Media Group can now also help to rate content. In this way, buyers and sellers can decide where and at what price shows should be sold.
This data is very valuable to Whip Media Group customers, which include more than 50 of the largest entertainment companies – such as Disney, Warner Bros., Hulu, NBCU, Paramount, Sony, Lionsgate, BBC, HBO, AT&T, T-Mobile , Liberty Global, Discovery and United Talent Agency. (There are other big names in streaming that also use company data, but cannot be published due to NDAs.)
Often, when a content owner sells a show to a modern streaming service, they may not know how it works.
From the end of the first quarter, Whip Media Group will be able to predict where a particular piece of content will be offered for sale, said Rosenblatt.
"From the first quarter, we will be able to introduce an" Engagement Score "in which [content owners will] You can actually see how a content item takes a particular demographic or geographic position differently than another content item, ”Rosenblatt explains. “When you think about how ad networks started 20 years ago – and you tried to match the right consumer with the right ad. Nothing else mattered. Google won because it had the best data and models. That's exactly what we want to do, ”he continues.
“We want to provide the right content on the right platform, in the right country and in the right population. And we don't think anyone in this position is like us – it has everything between Mediamorph and TV Time, ”he says.
This data is more important than ever at a time when core classics are selling for up to half a billion (like the sale of "Seinfeld" to Netflix or "Friends" to HBO Max) or even more (like the one billion plus) Dollars) sell deal for "Big Bang Theory", which also went to HBO Max.)
In general, worldwide online TV episodes and films will reach $ 159 billion in 2024. Research and Markets says more than double the $ 68 billion it recorded in 2018.
The Whip Media Group's new round of financing will be used in part to fund the Mediamorph acquisition, which was a combination of cash and shares. However, the majority will be used to grow the business, including by expanding the company's sales and data teams and accelerating product development.
The company has already hired 20 employees and is expecting 50 employees by the end of the year, mainly on the data and engineering side.
"Whip Media Group is developing software and data solutions that are transforming the way content is bought and sold across the global entertainment ecosystem," said Ricky Sandler, CEO of Eminence Capital, in a statement. "We believe in their vision and their exceptional leadership and technology teams, and we look forward to working with them as they grow their business quickly."