Splay, Scandinavia’s largest multi-channel network, will renew its push to move farther into Europe following news of a major boost in share investment from global media giant, MTG.
MTG, which itself has been growing its digital-media footprint, has increased its shareholding in the Swedish MCN to 81%, from 49%, the company confirmed.
Splay already has a presence in Germany but its executive team, led by founder Vigor Sorman, has its sights set on a much broader horizon. Its best-performing channels in Sweden include the wildly popular “IJustWantToBeCool” (pictured) (471,940 subscribers and 79 million views), “Clara Henry” (340,550 subscribers and 41 million views) and “RackartygarnaTV” (254,813 subscribers and 43.3 million views). In Norway, “PrebzOgDennis” has won 144,502 subscribers 62.8 million views, while Danish blogger “Kristine Sloth” has 101,078 subscribers and 15.5 million views.
“MTG’s continued investment in Splay makes it possible for us to continue building our brand, develop our talents and accelerate our international expansion,” said Sorman in a statement.
In two years, Splay has gone from small-time start-up (or, as Sorman descriptively referred to as “a basement company”) to a network that generates more than 120 million monthly views (an increase of 900% since 2014) across 430 YouTube channels.
(For comparison, the largest MCN’s in North America, including Maker Studios, AwesomenessTV and Machinima, have tens of thousands of creators and channels each, generating views in the billions).
The Swedish MCN has been growing its revenues, too. According to MTG, the network’s sales have seen a sixfold rise in sales in 2014 from a year earlier. Sales, generated largely from advertising and marketing campaigns involving Splay influencers and brands like Coca-Cola, Unilever, P&G, McDonalds and L’Oreal, are expected to double in 2015.
Jorgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG president and CEO, said the network’s “hypergrowth” since 2013 reflects a mass appeal of its content among a sought-after millennial (and younger) audience and huge potential for what he sees is a proven business model.
The investment is in line with MTG’s digital strategy “to invest in relevant, complementary and scalable digital content and communities. We are only just beginning to realize Splay’s potential,” he said in a statement.
Splay joins MTG’s portfolio of digital video entertainment companies, which include the SVOD Viaplay, Viagame (an e-sports platform), NetInfo (Bulgaria’s leading digital service provider) and MTG’s own “Play” AVOD TV sites in eight European countries.
Photo: Screen grab from IJustWantToBeCool on YouTube