RTL’s BroadbandTV Acquires YoBoHo, YouTube Kids Multichannel Network

BroadbandTV, the technology and YouTube multichannel network company owned by European broadcast giant RTL Group, has acquired YoBoHo, which runs the HooplaKidz children’s channel on YouTube.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The purchase price was for more than $10 million, according to a source familiar with the pact. RTL provided funding for BroadbandTV’s acquisition of YoBoHo.

YoBoHo, which has been based in Mumbai, India, has a video library with more than 8,000 videos mainly produced by the company and generates some 3 billion views on YouTube per year. It operates HooplaKidz, which it claims is the largest preschool and K-12 educational MCN on YouTube with 1.5 million subscribers.

Post-transaction, BroadbandTV said its average monthly views will be over 4 billion per month, reaching around 50 billion views per year, preserving its position as one of the top three non-music YouTube MCNs.

“We’re very pleased to conclude the acquisition of a top player in the kids space at a time when the kids’ content vertical is experiencing burgeoning growth,” said Shahrzad Rafati, BroadbandTV founder and CEO. She added that BroadbandTV is also making a multimillion dollar investment in YoBoHo to further expand its library of original content, and broaden its international footprint and further diversify its revenue streams.

All 55 YoBoHo employees will join BroadbandTV, including producers, writers, marketers, technology, mobile and business development staffers.

Deal comes after YouTube launched a dedicated app with walled-off content aimed at kids 5 and under; the YouTube Kids app has been criticized by consumer advocates as potentially violating government rules about targeting ads to children.

“YouTube Kids’ viewership is growing rapidly thanks to strong entrepreneurial partners like YoBoHo and we’re excited to see this combination with BroadbandTV, a company that continues to innovate and invest successfully in this space,” Malik Ducard, global head of content for YouTube Kids and Learning, said in a statement.

RTL in 2013 acquired a majority stake in BroadbandTV, which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. BroadbandTV currently represents two-thirds of RTL’s online video views, “and its acquisition of YoBoHo is another milestone in our joint efforts to achieve leading positions in all segments of the rapidly growing online video space,” commented Guillaume de Posch, co-CEO of RTL Group.

Privately funded YoBoHo was founded in 2008 by CEO Hitendra Merchant, who previously ran marketing at digital-media and music companies.

“Our partnership with BBTV allows us to accelerate our international footprint, advance our major content production efforts and scale our business by leveraging their cutting edge technology and powerful MCN business,” Merchant said.

Other BroadbandTV brands include TGN, a gaming network on YouTube; hip-hop music network Opposition; and female lifestyle brand Kandesa. Over all, BroadbandTV’s MCN is comprised of over of 32,000 partners with library of more than 10.5 million video assets.

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