Tribune Digital Ventures, the technology and innovation arm of Tribune Company, has acquired What’s-ON, a leading television search and Electronic Program Guide (EPG) data provider for India and the Middle East. This move expands Tribune’s TV listings and video metadata footprint to more than 50 countries in 30+ languages, reaching more than 600 million TV subscribers.
What’s-ON provides EPG data and TV search products for 16 countries, including India, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia, Kenya and Sri Lanka. What’s-ON customers include TV networks, service providers and consumer electronics manufacturers, such as Star TV, Discovery Networks, Hathway Cable, Qatar Telecom, Samsung and Sony.
Earlier this year, Tribune had acquired music and video technology and metadata leader Gracenote. The addition of What’s-ON further extends Tribune’s reach in EPG data, TV data, and music metadata and strengthens its international footprint.
“The acquisition of What’s-ON fits with our broad strategy of diversifying revenue and scaling our metadata business to meet increasing client demand,” said Peter Liguori, CEO, Tribune Company. “The strategic investments we made over the last year expand Tribune’s presence internationally and enable us to offer a trusted solution to cable, Internet and consumer electronics clients globally. I’m pleased that with What’s-ON we will have a new presence in markets with significant opportunity and What’s-ON’s Founder and CEO Atul Phadnis and his team will work together with Rich Cusick and Tribune’s existing TV metadata team to grow this area of our business.”
Atul Phadnis added here, “We felt it was important to find a company that shares our vision for the business and understands the growth potential for TV data and services in Asia. And we believe we have found that with the Tribune team. Tribune’s portfolio of entertainment technology and metadata capabilities provides us a solid foundation to grow the business and expand our services throughout the region.”
“Electronic programme guides remain the primary vehicle for the discovery of TV shows and movies around the world,” said Rich Cusick, who oversees the TV metadata business for Tribune. “While data remains the foundation of what we do, our evolution will be centered on data-driven services and features to help define new TV platforms and experiences for viewers around the world.”
What’s-ON will continue to operate out of its headquarters in Mumbai. Its leadership team, including Atul Phadnis, will remain with the company. Tribune’s Asian subsidiaries, including Tribune Digital Ventures Singapore Pte, are purchasing all of the shares of What’s-ON for $27 million, subject to standard adjustments.
Edelweiss Capital served as the Investment Bank for What’s-ON.