×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Zefr Sells Its Copyright-Flagging and YouTube Channel-Management Businesses to Vobile for $90 Million

Vobile Group, a video protection and measurement company, announced a deal to acquire Zefr’s RightsID copyright-management and ChannelID YouTube channel-management businesses for about $90 million.

According to the companies, Zefr’s RightsID and ChannelID together generated over $40 million in revenue in 2018 and were profitable. The deal stands to more than triple the revenue for Vobile, which reported sales of $15.2 million and a net loss of $2.5 million for the full year 2018.

With the pact, about 100 of Zefr’s employees will join Vobile, which said it is opening a new office in L.A. to house the RightsID and ChannelID operations and serve entertainment-industry customers. Following the sale, Zefr will have a headcount of around 150.

Zefr made the sale in order to focus entirely on its core contextual-advertising platform, formerly called BrandID. That analyzes millions of YouTube videos to determine the nature of the content — and reviews them to ensure they’re “brand safe” — to let advertisers buy targeted spots on the platform.

“As we focus on capitalizing on the potential of our contextual-targeting platform, we believe we’ve found the perfect home for RightsID and ChannelID,” Zach James, Zefr’s co-founder and co-CEO, said in a statement. He added that Vobile’s acquisition “creates an unmatched content protection and measurement company for the modern digital-media market.”

Founded in 2005, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Vobile provides a software-as-a-service platform for protecting, measuring and monetizing online video content. Customers include Hollywood film studios, TV networks and other content owners. The company’s shares are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Vobile said the deal to will let it combine existing business offerings for reducing revenue loss from copyright infringement with the Zefr platforms’ ability to measure and monetize video at a high scale. Zefr’s businesses also will give it deeper relationships with platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, Vobile said.

“The new Vobile will empower content providers to protect and maximize the value of their assets, draw upon new distribution channels and analytically assess their efforts within the marketing funnel,” Vobile CEO Yangbin Wang (pictured above) said in a statement

Vobile was advised in the transaction by LionTree; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; and Freshfields Bruckhaus Denger. For Zefr, Nfluence Partners acted as financial adviser and King & Spalding was legal counsel.

Investors in privately held Zefr include IVP, U.S. Venture Partners, MK Capital, Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital and Richmond Park Partners. In 2014, Zefr sold its Movieclips.com business to NBCUniversal’s Fandango.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Kids' Programming Will Be a Battleground

    Why Kids' Programming Will Be a Major Battleground in the Streaming Wars

    When “Moana” left Netflix on Dec. 20, parents of little kids let out a collective wail of despair on Twitter and Facebook parenting groups everywhere. The phrase “ruined Christmas” was pointedly used in the streamer’s direction — sometimes facetiously, sometimes with the reflected ire of a preschooler who had awakened one morning to find her [...]

  • Nvidia Shield leak

    Nvidia Shield 2019 Model Leaks on Amazon

    The latest version of Nvidia’s Android TV streamer has found its way onto Amazon.com ahead of an official announcement. The new device features a more powerful processor as well as a new remote control. Nvidia didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The latest Nvidia Shield is being powered by a Tegra X1+ processor, [...]

  • Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

    'Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order': Respawn CEO on Telling the Story Behind 'Becoming a Jedi'

    When it comes to media properties, it doesn’t get much bigger than “Star Wars.” That sentiment certainly isn’t lost on Vince Zampella, CEO of Respawn Entertainment, the studio behind “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” The title, which follows Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis (voiced by Cameron Monaghan) after the events of “Episode III — Revenge of [...]

  • Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

    'Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order': What to Expect From EA and Respawn's Latest

    There’s a lot riding on “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” The upcoming title from EA and Respawn is the first major single-player “Star Wars” video game since 2008’s “The Force Unleashed,” and is one of the most anticipated games of 2019. After years of multiplayer adventures, could “Fallen Order” be the title that brings the [...]

  • Katie Couric Olympics

    Katie Couric Plots 'SeeHer Stories' for People Magazine

    Katie Couric’s next assignment: Creating digital videos for People. Couric’s media company, Katie Couric Media is teaming with the Meredith-owned magazine to produce the weekly digital video series “#SeeHer Story,” that will feature short vignettes of female trailblazers and rulebreakers. The series is meant to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which prohibits [...]

  • Wonderscope Willowcrest Manor

    Within Adds 'Willowcrest Manor' Ghost Story to Its Wonderscope AR App (EXCLUSIVE)

    Los Angeles-based immersive media startup Within added another augmented reality (AR) story to its children’s storytelling app Wonderscope Thursday: “Willowcrest Manor” gives kids a chance to become a ghost, haunt a house, and scare intruders away from hidden treasure. Wonderscope, which is available for most recent-generation iPads and iPhones, lets children explore animated stories in [...]

  • STRANGER THINGS

    'Stranger Things 3' Is Most-Watched Season to Date, Netflix Says

    The Upside Down delivered upside for Netflix in the third quarter: “Stranger Things” season 3 was the most-watched season of the series to date, according to the streamer. In the first four weeks of release, “Stranger Things” season 3 was watched by 64 million member households, Netflix said in the Q3 letter to shareholders. The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content