British satellite broadcaster Sky (BskyB) has ploughed $7 million into Whistle Sports, a YouTube network focussing on sports videos for young people.
This signals the third deal in a month made by the broadcaster, after putting $5 million into Sharethrough, an ad tech start-up, and backing the online video game platform Pluto.
Whistle Sports is a US-based YouTube-certified broadcaster, containing over 195 channels and including content from some of the biggest names in US sports – from basketball star Jeremy Lin, to Ultimate Frisbee’s Brodie Smith, to sports comedian Dude Perfect.
Whistle Sports also enjoys partnerships with the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), PGA Tour as well as other US sports leagues.
The network claims that its library of over 28,700 videos have generated more than 1.2 billion views, which indeed has proven to be very attractive to Sky’s marketing division.
"With young people increasingly shying away from terrestrial and satellite TV, networks like Whistle Sports offer a way for advertisers to connect with younger audiences through video. The union makes particular sense for Sky given its significant sports business – the broadcaster has held the rights to England’s Premiership football division for the last 20 years,” according to a statement from Sky .
Whistle Sports is a ‘cross platform’ network, meaning that it uses multiple social networks to engage with and reach its user base. It can be found on YouTube where it enjoys 8 million subscribers, on Facebook with 9.3 million fans, Twitter with 1.3 million followers, Instagram with 2.5 million followers and Vine with 2.2 million.
This represents a vast area in which Sky has much vested interest in being seen, as Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports explains in his statement:
"Whistle Sports has very quickly established itself in the US as a major new sports network. We see lots of potential to harness Sky Sports’ content and relationships with major sports bodies and brands to work alongside Whistle Sports’ talent network.”