RTL Teams Up with SpotXChange, Eyeing Opportunities Worldwide

In the increasingly active digital acquisition scene, this might not seem like the biggest one, but today German broadcast giant RTL Group announced it’s buying 65% of programmatic ad firm SpotXchange for $144 million.

It also holds the option to buy the rest.

The deal gets RTL further into the U.S. market, and according to reports, lets RTL help figure out what drives young online viewers.  

"For us, this is a nice way to reach these so-called millennials. It’s a way to hedge our position, whether it is via our online platforms or our linear TV channels," said RTL's co-CEO Guillaume de Posch in an interview with Reuters. "It is a way to hedge our position, whether it is via our online platforms or our linear TV channels."

More corporately, in a statement Anke Schäferkordt, the other CEO and de Posch said: “Following our investments in non-linear TV services and in multi-channel networks on YouTube, RTL Group has already become the leading European media company in terms of online video views. The logical next step in our strategy is a structural move into the area of digital monetization – improving our skills by adding innovative data- and technology-based competencies.”

RTL, which is controlled by the German giant Bertelsmann, is making up for lost time on YouTube. It’s started plowing money into content and its channels tabbed 16.8 billion views last year, double what they did in 2012. It has a significant investment in MCN network Broadband TV. But like a lot of other international players, RTL must realize it’s a land rush to control the best publishers and platforms in the online video future.

Tyler Loechner from MediaPost has a more extensive story.

The SpotXchange connection for RTL works well. And SpotXchange, which  auctions over 1 billion ad positions per day its likely to become a much larger worldwide player. SpotXchange seemed to want to make clear that RTL is a decentralized company so management should stay about the same.   

SpotXchange foresees a bigger footprint in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as Asia and the Pacific Rim. With the help of RTL and their many global assets, business interests and partnerships, SpotXchange will be able to connect our publishers with even more buyers all over the globe.

But SpotXchange is becoming part of a massive enterprise. RTL has over 10,000 employees and $8 billion in revenues with interests in 54 TV channels and 27 radio stations worldwide. Most Americans probably know it best as the owner of Fremantle Media, responsible for such shows at “American Idol” and their successors, which are licensed in 150 nations.

By comparison, SpotXchange, based in Denver, has just 180 employees, but it carries a lot of clout. Its video platform is used by big publishers, including Hearst, NDN, Meredith and the Atlantic, and delivers ads to 335 million people in 100 nations.  

pj@mediapost.com

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