Stingray Digital Group Inc (TSX: RAY.A-B) has agreed to acquire Classica, a pay TV channel for classical music, from Germany’s Unitel GmbH & Co. KG. No financial terms were released. Stingray, a multi-platform music and in-store media solutions provider, said the deal will see Unitel continue to produce and deliver the programming for Classica, while giving Stingray access to 1,500 titles and 2,000 hours of content. Montréal-based Stingray raised $180 million in an initial public offering in 2015. It continues be a portfolio company of Canadian private equity firm Novacap and other investors.
Stingray Now World-Leading Provider of Classical Music Content on Television
– Stingray acquires premium Pay TV channel, Classica, from Unitel and secures a vast content catalogue.
– Stingray to premiere more than 50 classical music concerts a year.
MONTREAL, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – Jan. 3, 2017) – Stingray Digital Group Inc. (TSX:RAY.A)(TSX:RAY.B), a leading business-to-business, multi-platform music solutions provider, has signed an agreement with UNITEL GmbH & Co. KG, a leading producer and distributor of classical music for audio-visual media, to acquire, operate, and distribute its international, premium pay TV channel, Classica.
Together, UNITEL and Stingray will help the greatest operas and orchestras reach audiences of all ages worldwide. UNITEL will continue to produce and deliver the programming for Classica, while Stingray will have unfettered and privileged access to UNITEL’s exclusive catalogue of more than 1,500 titles and 2,000 hours of premium content produced and owned by UNITEL. Music lovers around the world will benefit from an even more comprehensive classical music offering from Stingray.
“The acquisition of Classica marks the logical next step in our product development strategy, and demonstrates our intent and ability to act as an industry consolidator,” said Eric Boyko, President, Co-founder and CEO of Stingray. “With this acquisition, Stingray becomes the undisputed leading provider of classical music programming worldwide. With an estimated 10 to 15% of the population in major markets attending at least one classical music concert each year, Stingray is poised to respond to demand from discerning TV viewers everywhere. This transaction will accelerate our growth and strengthen our relationship with cutting-edge providers that are always on the lookout for new and exciting content.”
Launched in 1996, Classica inspires its international audience with world premieres, and legendary recordings that showcase the most outstanding classical music stars. The channel presents operas, ballets, and concerts from the most renowned opera houses, concert halls and music festivals. Classica is currently distributed by UNITEL through existing partnerships across four continents, in 40 countries, and broadcasts 24/7 in full HD, Surround Sound (5.1). It is available to an estimated 20 million subscribers.
“In Stingray, we have found a partner with global reach who shares our vision of making the fascinating world of classical music accessible to the broadest and most diverse audience possible. UNITEL will continue to produce top-quality world premieres as well as legendary opera and ballet recordings that will be featured on Classica. We are confident that with Stingray’s cooperation, UNITEL will expand its audience and bring the joy of classical music to enthusiasts around the globe.” stated Ernst Buchrucker, Managing Director UNITEL.
“Stingray’s strength lies in the scope of curated products and services we can provide our clients,” said Mathieu Péloquin, Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Communications of Stingray. “The high-quality content produced by UNITEL perfectly complements Stingray’s existing world-class classical music offering, which includes the recently-acquired 440 titles from Euro-Arts and the Stingray Brava TV channel. We look forward to reintroducing the definitive channel for lovers of classical music, opera, and ballet in every region of the world.”
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Stingray (TSX:RAY.A)(TSX:RAY.B) is a leading business-to-business multi-platform music and in-store media solutions provider operating on a global scale, reaching an estimated 400 million Pay-TV subscribers (or households) in 152 countries. Geared towards individuals and businesses alike, Stingray’s products include the following leading digital music and video services: Stingray Music, Stingray Concerts, Stingray Brava, Stingray DJAZZ, Stingray Music Videos, Stingray Lite TV, Stingray Ambiance, Stingray Karaoke, Festival 4K, and iConcerts. Stingray also offers various business solutions, including music and digital display-based solutions, through its Stingray Business division. Stingray is headquartered in Montreal and currently has close to 300 employees worldwide, including in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Israel, Australia and South Korea. Stingray was recognized in 2013 and 2014 as a finalist in the Top 50 of Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50TM list, and figures amongst PROFIT magazine’s fastest-growing Canadian companies. In 2016, Stingray was awarded best IR for an IPO at the IR Magazine Awards – Canada. For more information, please visit www.stingray.com.
UNITEL is one of the world’s leading producers and distributors of classical music for audio visual media. True to its motto “Music to Watch”, UNITEL produces operas, concerts and ballets with acclaimed artists and in the highest technical quality. Currently boasting a film stock of 1500 productions, UNITEL was one of the first companies to produce music films in color and stereo, and records today exclusively in 4K and on HDTV and in Surround sound quality.
UNITEL has been working for over 50 years with the world’s leading artists in order to capture on film great musical interpretations in landmark productions. Legendary conductors such as Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein and Carlos Kleiber were exclusive partners of the production company for many years, just as the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Bayreuth Festival. Today, UNITEL owes its one-of-a-kind catalogue and its outstanding position in the field of audiovisual production of classical music to these long-term artistic partnerships. They are being continued – some of them on an exclusive basis – to this day with artists such as Daniel Barenboim, Christian Thielemann, Andris Nelsons, Anna Netrebko, Anja Harteros & Jonas Kaufmann as well as with such renowned cultural institutions as the Salzburg Festival, the Bregenz Festival, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatro Alla Scala in Milan and orchestras like the Wiener Philharmoniker, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Staatskapelle Dreden. Founded in 1966, the company has been part of Jan Mojto’s corporate group since 2004. For more information, please visit www.UNITEL.de.
Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Communications
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Photo courtesy of Classica