Sky and Channel 4 co-invest for stake in TV rights venture TRX

Sky and Channel 4 co-invest for stake in TV rights venture TRX
Dial Square 86 Limited, the holding company for The RightsXchange Limited (“TRX”), has announced today that Sky and Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund have invested in the company’s latest financing round, which will raise up to £5.2m for TRX. 

TRX is a new global online deal-making tool that enables TV rights buyers and sellers from around the world to connect and complete licensing deals entirely online. It 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.  It soft launched in Asia last month and already has in excess of 5,000 hours of programming available from key UK and US distributors and rights holders such as Sky Vision, Discovery Communications, All3Media International, Hat Trick International and Sesame Workshop.  

Sky and Channel 4 will each take an undisclosed minority stake in Dial Square 86 Limited, which was established in 2014 by former RDF Media founders and Zodiak Media executives, David and Matthew Frank. This funding round also includes investment from private individuals (many of whom have participated in previous rounds). TRX has an Advisory Board of key industry figures including John McVay, CEO of PACT, Stephen Lambert, founder and CEO of Studio Lambert and Nadine Nohr, former CEO of Shine International.

The deal marks the first time Sky and Channel 4 have co-invested in a start-up. The partnership with TRX is the latest example of Sky taking equity shares in innovative companies, enabling the exchange of new ideas and insights. Sky’s production and distribution arm, Sky Vision, will also use the TRX deal-making tool, helping to develop its suite of enterprise tools and grow the TV rights market. It is the latest digital business venture for Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund, led by Laura Franses, which is using its £20m facility to back this valuable resource for indie TV rights holders and thereby supporting the future health of the UK indie sector. 

David Frank, CEO Dial Square 86 Limited and Chairman TRX said: “We are absolutely delighted that two of the UK’s leading content players with such reputations for innovation and excellence have decided to back what we are doing. There is real momentum behind TRX now and we’re excited about launching a truly global product that can make programme distribution faster and easier while opening up the TV rights market to previously disenfranchised buyers and delivering extra value to rights holders.”

Emma Lloyd, Group Business Development Director, Sky said: "This latest investment reflects our ambition to partner with pioneering start-ups that can help transform the TV landscape. We’re delighted to be backing such an innovative UK-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.”

David Abraham, Chief Executive of Channel 4 said: “In post-Brexit Britain, it’s even more important for the UK’s creative industries to have access to innovative ways of trading across the globe. We recognise that the new TRX tool is a valuable online resource which will enable indies to connect with the world and export their programmes in a digital marketplace and will help support a buoyant UK indie sector well into the future.”  

On TRX entire TV rights licensing deals can be completed securely online. TRX aggregates rights from multiple rights holders in one place making it easier for buyers to find the right programmes for their audiences and make offers to acquire programmes. TRX also provides a suite of enterprise tools which allows sales, legal and delivery teams to collaborate on and manage complicated deals.

Notes to editors

1)All references to Dial Square 86, The RightsXchange and TRX are to Dial Square 86 Limited
2)The Gross Assets subject to this transaction were £1m
3)The Profits attributable to the assets subject to this transaction were £nil
4)Sky will have a position on the board of Dial Square 86 Limited as an observer as a result of the transaction
5)This announcement by Sky is being made in accordance with Listing Rule 10.4.1 

For more information

Sky
Euan Fordyce
Euan.fordyce@sky.uk

TRX
Rachel Davidson 
rachel@davidsonpr.co.uk

Channel 4
Victoria Wawman
VWawman@channel4.co.uk

About TRX
TRX is an online deal-making tool that enables TV rights buyers and sellers to connect and close more deals, more efficiently. On TRX entire TV rights licensing deals can be completed securely online – from discovering and screening TV programmes to negotiating a price and signing a contract. 

By using TRX distributors can cost-effectively reach buyers in new international markets, who in turn get access to British and American TV rights that would have previously been out of reach. TRX aggregates rights from rights holders in one place making it easier for buyers to find the right programmes for their audiences. TRX also provides a suite of enterprise tools which allows sales, legal and delivery teams to collaborate on and manage complicated deals.

TRX was founded in 2014 and developed by experts from the worlds of TV distribution and trading software. Executive chairman David Frank and CEO Matthew Frank were the founders of RDF Media and former CEOs of Zodiak Media and Zodiak Rights respectively, while president Nigel Pickard is a former director of programmes at ITV and former CEO of Zodiak Kids. Chief Technology Officer Cameron Price has extensive expertise in trading software, having previously led the development of the software infrastructure underlying ICAP’s global fixed trading platform.

TRX is a 100% owned subsidiary of Dial Square 86, a holding company established in 2014 to identify opportunities in the content markets. For more information, visit www.trx.tv 

About Sky
Sky is Europe's leading entertainment company, serving 21 million customers across five countries: UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. We offer the best and broadest range of content, deliver market-leading customer service and use innovative new technology to give customers a better TV experience, whenever and wherever they choose.

Sky has annual revenues of over £11 billion and is Europe's leading investor in television content with a combined programming budget of £4.9 billion. The group employs 30,000 people and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (SKY).
For more information visit www.sky.com/corporate

About Sky Vision
Sky Vision is the production and distribution arm of Sky. The distribution arm is the fastest growing Top 10 distributor in the UK (Broadcast Distributors’ Survey 2015) and represents around 5,000 hours of quality primetime programming from Sky Originals and independent third party production, across all key primetime genres (drama, entertainment, factual entertainment and factual).

The business also has equity investments in seven production businesses in the UK and US; Love Productions, Blast! Films, Sugar Films and Sky Vision Productions in the UK; and in the US, Jupiter Entertainment, Talos Films and Znak & Jones.

In addition to its equity investments, Sky Vision works extensively with independent producers in the UK and US and has development deals with a number of production companies; including Asylum Entertainment and Peacock Alley in North America; and Avanti Media, back2back productions, Chalkboard, Hungry Bear Media, LittleRock Pictures, Merman Films, Spring Films, and Roughcut TV in the UK.

About Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund
Channel 4 launched the Indie Growth Fund in 2014 initially committing to invest up to £20million over a period of three years in minority stakes across a broad portfolio of television production and digital companies. The aim is to nurture the independent sector by providing access to funding for small to medium sized companies based in the UK to help them grow and develop their business.  Headed up Laura Franses, the Indie Growth Fund investment portfolio includes eleven UK-based businesses: Arrow International Media, Barcroft Media Group, Eleven Film, Lightbox Media, Popkorn Media, Renowned Films, Spelthorne Community Television, The RightsXchange (TRX), True North Productions, Voltage TV Productions and Whisper Films. The fund continues to take submissions from companies who can register their interest by contacting growthfund@channel4.co.uk