Video and web content has helped UBC Media grow its turnover, which is up 17% this year, and a new deal with Rightster is expected to help even further.
The company, which owns Unique, Smooth Operations, Above The Title, and 40% of Audioboo, has also announced it has a healthy cash balance of over £3m.
Last year’s live coverage of the Cambridge Folk Festival for Sky Arts made a significant impact and UBC has said this morning that it has a number of projects in discussion with Sky for the current year.
First revenues are also coming through from the deal announced in November to supply entertainment news video content to Yahoo!
Building on this, the entertainment news service has signed a contract, announced today with the results, with digital distribution company Rightster. The deal involves the creation by Rightster of an entertainment news channel on YouTube as well as distribution to its network of some 2,000 publishers.
As in the Yahoo! deal, advertising revenues will be shared between UBC and Rightster who have paid an advance against these sales as a demonstration of confidence. The entertainment news service, in video and audio, has been developed in partnership with GTN, who distribute it to 160 commercial stations in the UK.
UBC took its shareholding in the social networking platform Audioboo to 40% last year and is today also revealing growth figures for that business. New content partners in the US, including ESPN Radio and Kidd Kraddick’s syndicated breakfast show, have boosted use of Audioboo there. The US now represents nearly 50% of all traffic, which is growing strongly.
Registered users at Audioboo have more than doubled in 6 months to 1.4 million. 10 million audio clips are being consumed on the site monthly now, with 100 clips uploaded every hour. Last week the company served over half a million audio clips on a single day for the first time.
Simon Cole, Chief executive of UBC commented: “The nature of our business and the make-up of our revenues has changed this year in line with our strategy. Finding partners through whom we can create new revenue streams for our existing skills and content, with little or no incremental cost, is a key strategy for UBC.
Rightster have demonstrated their belief in the ad-funded model and have impressed us with their rapidly growing network of publishers.
We are pleased also with the very impressive growth at Audioboo where we have consistently invested over the last three years – it is particularly rewarding now to see the rapid uptake in North America. Balancing risk against opportunity is a key challenge for us as we seek to create growth whilst protecting a strong cash position.”
Charlie Muirhead, CEO and Founder of Rightster commented: “Entertainment News has been at the forefront of delivering the UK’s biggest breaking showbiz news, until now its strength been across radio and we look forward to supporting them to continue this across the multi platform world. Partnering with Rightster allows UBC Media Group plc to focus internal resources and funds on content and strategy while we manages the complexity of achieving reach and revenue.”