Tribune Digital Ventures, the technology and innovation arm of US based 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 pay TV subscribers.
What’s-ON which earlier raised Series B funding in 2011 from by Intel Capital, Sequoia and Nexus Venture Partners provides EPG data and TV search products for 16 countries, including India, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia, Kenya and Sri Lanka.
The company claims to deliver data for more than 1,600 TV channels and helps power more than 50 million set-top boxes through the region’s top cable and IPTV services.
The Growing Indian TV Market
India is the world’s third largest TV market, after the U.S. and China, with an estimated 175 million homes and a growing base of digital cable subscribers, according to ABI Research. The expansion of digital TV in Asia, featuring popular shows and movies, will enable Tribune to develop new technologies and services on top of its entertainment data that fuel discovery and recommendations on cable, satellite and over-the-top services.
“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 of 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.”
Post this acquisition, 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 Ltd, are purchasing all of the shares of What’s-ON for $27 million subject to standard adjustments.