U.K. free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4 and European pay-TV operator Sky have invested in The RightsXchange (TRX), a platform that enables TV rights buyers and sellers to complete licensing deals online. The deal marks the first time Channel 4 and Sky have co-invested in a start-up.
The investment, made through The RightsXchange’s holding company Dial Square 86, is for up to £5.2 million ($6.74 million), with Channel 4 and Sky each taking an undisclosed minority stake in the company.
TRX, which soft launched in Asia last month, 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 Intl., Hat Trick Intl. and Sesame Workshop.
In a statement, Dial Square 86 said: “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 programs for their audiences and make offers to acquire programs. TRX also provides a suite of enterprise tools that allows sales, legal and delivery teams to collaborate on and manage complicated deals.”
Dial Square 86 was set up in 2014 by former RDF Media founders and Zodiak Media executives, David and Matthew Frank. TRX has an advisory board of key industry figures including John McVay, CEO of U.K. producers’ association PACT, Stephen Lambert, founder and CEO of Studio Lambert, and Nadine Nohr, former CEO of Shine Intl.
David Frank, CEO Dial Square 86 and chairman of TRX, said: “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.”
David Abraham, chief executive of Channel 4, said: “We recognize that the new TRX tool is a valuable online resource that 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.”
Emma Lloyd, Sky’s group business development director, 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 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.”