Of all the unusual topics to be discussing on a Wednesday morning on the Streetwise blog, the Allman Brothers Band might be one of the strangest yet.
So why are we bringing up the Allman Brothers Band? In a deal that will be announced today, Stingray Digital, a small privately held Montreal media company will reveal it has purchased Concert TV, a video-on-demand service in the United States.
Operating much like an on-demand movie service does, Concert TV carries a huge menu of recorded musical performances ranging from A (Alice Cooper) to Z (ZZ Top). And among the hundreds of titles carried each month, the most popular video on the service almost always belongs to a concert by the Allman Brothers Band.
That is of course not what drew Stingray to the property when it was put up for sale recently by New York-based Interactivation, which is shedding assets to focus on health-related content. The deal, for which financial terms are not yet known, comes with a huge subscriber base for Stingray.
Carriage arrangements with Comcast, Direct TV, Verizon, Cox and others put Concert TV into nearly 30 million U.S. homes each month. The distributors pay Concert TV for the service, which viewers get at no extra cost beyond what they pay on their cable bill.
Stingray's plan is to expand Concert TV's model onto Canadian VOD services such as Rogers, Videotron and Shaw, then into Europe. It is the same strategy Stingray is using for its Karaoke Channel, which is the world's largest menu of licensed karaoke videos on-demand. Call it hokey, but the company has been aggressively lining up deals around the globe for that service in the past two years. The Karaoke Channel now reaches 80 million homes throughout Europe and North America, including 10 million in Canada.
An astute observer might say there is a reason Stingray is on such a push to amass such big numbers for a Canadian media company. At some point, it's plausible to think that this startup, which was created in 2006, will seek to go public once the market for an IPO emerges. And what better way draw attention to yourself than claiming to be in hundreds of millions of homes worldwide?