European media giant RTL Group today announced it is combining its European multi-platform networks (MPNs) to create what it describes as “Europe’s leading digital studio”. The move will initially bring together RTL’s German MPN Divimove with its Nordic business United Screens under the Divimove brand, and the group plans to integrate its Dutch business RTL MCN as well in the future.
Multi-platform networks (also referred to as ‘multi-channel networks’, or MCNs) group together popular, marketable creators on platforms like YouTube, enabling marketers to spend in areas like influencer marketing at scale more easily. They also serve to help the creators themselves with content production. Broadcaster-owned MPNs able to use their resources to link digital influencers up with more mainstream celebrities for branded content, and similarly can bring YouTube stars in to contribute to their mainstream broadcast content.
RTL has built up a wide ranging network of MPNs over the years, most recently completing its takeover of United Screens for €12.4 million in January last year. As well as the three which will be rolled into Divimove, RTL owns LA-based StyleHaul and Canadian MPN BroadbandTV. But since RTL is pitching the expanded Divimove as a home for European content creators, it’s unlikely these others will be rolled into the company any time soon.
The combined group will represent over 1,000 creators in nine European countries, who collectively generate over three billion online video views per month. Rolling the three companies into one will give greater reach to advertisers working with Divimove. “RTL Group’s digital video businesses have built significant reach among young audiences which are highly sought after by advertisers,” said RTL Group CEO Thomas Rabe. “We have now defined a new structure and strategy to convert the rapid growth in short-form video consumption into a profitable business: we are bundling our strengths into one company with a hands-on management team, we are investing in talent, creativity and technology.”
But the move also comes as part of RTL’s plan to increase cooperation between its MPNs, its production arm Fremantle and its broadcast groups. The company is offering Divimove creators partnerships with RTL broadcasters and Fremantle productions, to help them expand beyond social media, while Divimove will in return produce digital pilots, spin-offs and brand extensions of TV formats. RTL is also leveraging Divimove as a tool for branded content campaigns which can be run on its streaming service TV Now, having run one such campaign already for Durex.