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This article was published on February 11, 2013

Online video firm Rightster acquires Preview Networks and grabs Australian football rights

Online video firm Rightster acquires Preview Networks and grabs Australian football rights
Jamillah Knowles
Story by

Jamillah Knowles

Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemi Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemimah_knight or drop a line to [email protected]

It’s quite the day for Rightster, the video distribution and monetisation specialist. Today the company has announced that it has acquired international video distributor Preview Networks, nailed down the rights for the Australian Rules Football League and hired Scott Leishman of Skype as Global VP of Talent and Resourcing.

The deal with Preview Networks means that Rightster’s YouTube services across Europe will be expanded to make it one of the biggest distributors of film trailers in this region. Preview Networks brings over 300 content rights holders and 2500 publishers and will bolster Rightster’s geographic presence in key European markets including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Nordics.

Preview Network’s client roster will no doubt help to create an impressive portfolio for Rightster, the company’s client list includes many major movie distributors, mainstream media agencies, and brands such as Disney, Havaianas, MTV, Peugeot and Sony.

Aussie Rules online

Aussie Rules fans can rejoice as the Australian Football League (AFL) has chosen Rightster to launch live AFLTV, a subscription service providing live and on-demand access to AFL games outside of Australia and New Zealand. Rightster says that this service will be the only international offering where users can access every single AFL match live and on-demand for the coming season.

Rightster will  be responsible for the design and implementation of the access and delivery infrastructure of the service and will manage user subscriptions which will include the Season Pass, Weekly Pass, Monthly Recurring Pass, Club specific pass and Finals packages.

Once the service has launched, AFL fans will be able to watch Australian football across a range of devices including PCs and Macs, iOS and HTML5 compatible smart phones and tablets, and will have access to the full service for free for the duration of the NAB Cup.

Mixed in with today’s announcements of acquisitions and Aussie Rules, Rightster has also revealed that it has appointed Scott Leishman as Global VP of Talent and Resourcing. Leishman has been taken on to work on the company’s expansion in the UK and internationally.

Leishman joins Rightster from Skype where he managed the global recruitment team and so the match between talent and digital growth is a strong one that is bound to support Rightster as it increases its head count.

Indeed Rightster is picking up talent across the digital and broadcasting arena. More recently the company hired Robin Pembrooke from ITV as VP of Product and Solutions, along with Jonathan Bates as Director of Content and Partnerships and Ben Freeman as Head of Rightster Studios.

Along with the mainsteam media hires, John Dillon of Alcatel-Lucent joined as VP marketing and Donagh O’Malley came in from Google TV as General Manager. It’s a little like watching the formation of new broadcasting through cherry-picking the mix of traditional and new media hires.

Rightster says that the rapid expansion of its senior team is in line with company growth. The team has grown threefold in the past year and is now delivering more than 150 million YouTube views per month. If it’s not already clear, firms like Rightster in the field of broadcasting are bound to be household names as more viewers make the switch to online viewing.

More recently Rightster teamed up with Viral Spiral to create an original content series based on the antics of Internet meme kids Harry and Charlie of ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ fame. The company has also helped to change the role of ‘newspapers’ with a deal to launch a private video syndication portal for the Guardian Select publisher network.

With continuing deals across media, Rightster certainly poses challenges to traditional broadcasters who can either join up or think hard about how they might compete to reach the biggest global audiences.

Image Credit: Schmilblick / Flickr

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