You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

SoftBank to Acquire Online-Video Startup DramaFever

Japan’s SoftBank Group said it will acquire DramaFever, an Internet video-on-demand player that specializes in international TV shows and movies.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Founded in 2009, New York-based DramaFever has raised $12 million to date from its investors including AMC Networks, Bertelsmann, MK Capital, SoftBank Ventures, NALA Investments and YouTube co-founder Steve Chen. The company’s board includes founders Seung Bak and Suk Park, along with Ross Levinsohn — the former CEO of Yahoo and Guggenheim Digital Media — and Bret Maxwell, managing general partner of MK Capital.

Deal comes after SoftBank made a $250 million investment in Legendary Entertainment earlier this month, in a pact that could be worth up to $1 billion. The telecommunications and Internet conglomerate also had been in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation for some $3.4 billion.

“In five short years since going live, DramaFever has built an impressive Internet-based streaming video business operating at scale,” Nikesh Arora, vice chairman of SoftBank and CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media, said in announcing the deal. “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.”

DramaFever provides content from more than 70 major broadcasters and studios throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas, with a lineup of 15,000 episodes from 700 shows available either on a first-run, same-day or next-day basis from the original broadcast. An advertising-free subscription plan is $9.99 per month. DramaFever also syndicates a portion of its library to Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and iTunes, with an overall reach of more than 20 million unique monthly viewers.

According to DramaFever, most of its viewers are women 18-24. Roughly 40% of the site’s users are white, 30% are Hispanic, 15% are black and 15% are Asian. Paying subscribers to the service watch an average of 53.9 hours per month on DramaFever — more than Netflix.

Morrison & Foerster LLP acted as legal adviser to the SoftBank Group. The Raine Group LLC acted as financial adviser and Gunderson Dettmer acted as legal adviser to DramaFever.

Popular on Variety

More Digital


    Netflix's Podcast Slate 'Deepens' Space Around Original Content, Programmers Say

    It should come as no surprise that, in its quest to become a full-blown entertainment ecosystem, Netflix has built a roster of podcast programming to complement its scores or original series and films. The programs recruit top talent and hosts to hang out and talk about the streaming giant’s TV and film content. It’s a [...]

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Is Testing Human-Curated 'Collections'

    Netflix, a company powered by the strategic use of data, relies on artificial intelligence to suggest new content that its streaming customers are likely to be interested in. Now it’s looking to potentially add a human touch: The company has launched a limited-scale test of “Collections,” a new feature that presents groups of movies and [...]

  • wolves in the walls emmy

    Neil Gaiman VR Experience 'Wolves in the Walls' Wins Primetime Emmy

    “Wolves in the Walls,” the virtual reality (VR) experience based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book by the same name, has been awarded with a Primetime Emmy for outstanding innovation in interactive media. The experience has been produced by San Francisco-based immersive entertainment startup Fable, which puts a big effort on making the viewer a participating [...]

  • The Void San Francisco

    The Void Teams Up With Sony Pictures for New Location-Based VR Experience

    James Murdoch-backed virtual reality (VR) startup The Void has teamed up with Sony Pictures Virtual reality to produce a new location-based VR experience, according to Curtis Hickman, the startup’s chief creative officer. Hickman revealed the partnership in a conversation with Variety this week, during which he also outlined plans to bring more original IP to [...]

  • US President Donald J. Trump speaks

    Apple Stock Down 4.6% After Trump ‘Orders’ Companies to Leave China

    Apple’s share price was down around 4.6% Friday at the close of the market, to $202.64 per share, after President Trump took to Twitter to “order” U.S. companies to leave China. The slide came amid a market-wide sell-off, with the NASDAQ sliding 3%, and the Dow dropping 623 points. Trump’s edict was a response to [...]

  • Former head of CAA China Peter

    Peter Loehr to Spearhead Asia Expansion of Genies Avatar Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Peter Loehr, the former head of CAA in China, and seasoned music executive John Possman have been tapped by digital avatar company Genies to lead its expansion into Asia. The company’s proprietary avatar technology allows users to express ideas, thoughts and feelings in a different way from text, audio and video. Within the app and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content