One to watch: Meet Rightster, the tech company that's worked with the biggest YouTube stars

The company represents “Charlie Bit My Finger”, “Fenton!” and “Sneezing Panda”

Charlie Bit My Finger

Charlie Bit My Finger - one of Rightster’s best-known clients

 

VITAL STATISTICS

·       Company: Rightster Group Plc

·       What it does, in a sentence: 

Rightster simplifies the distribution and monetisation of online video bringing together content owners, creators, brands and publishers, helping them build and engage audiences online.

·       Founded:

May 2011, London

·       Founder/s: 

Founder: Charlie Muirhead 

Co-Founders: Tabitha Goldstaub, Sumit Gupta

·       Size of team:

As of end of 2014, the Company had 231 employees in 13 offices across 11 locations

Currently 

·       Your name and role: 

Damian Collier, SVP Business Affairs & Enterprise

THE NEED-TO-KNOW

What problem are you trying to solve?

The US$230 billion TV advertising market faces challenges as audiences move to multiple online video platforms and devices. As a result, the online video market is growing rapidly and TV advertising budget is progressively shifting to online.

Today, the distribution and monetisation opportunity in online video remains incredibly fragmented. Diverse types of organisations own and produce video content and deliver to audiences through a vast range of websites, including platforms, publishers, magazines and blogs spread across many geographies and devices.

Rightster simplifies the distribution of live and on-demand video to TV-scale audiences in the fragmented world of online video with an ‘upload once commercialise anywhere’ cloud based software platform.

We’re building the world’s leading Multi-Platform Network, enabling rights holders, publishers, creators and brands to unlock the true potential of online video.

How big is the market – and how much of it do you think you can own?

It’s a huge market that is growing rapidly. A recent report by ZenithOptimedia* predicts global ad expenditure will reach $544 billion by the end of 2015. Within this global ad expenditure, it estimates that online video is growing faster than any other digital category or sub-category, growing 34% to $10.9billion in 2014, and forecast to grow at an average of 29% a year to reach $23.3billion in 2017. We are keen to remain a leading player in this space and capitalise on the growth in the online video market.

*Executive summary: Advertising Expenditure Forecasts March 2015

How do you make money?

Rightster has two primary revenue models: Revenue shares and advanced service and support fees.

Revenue shares - This model aligns business outcomes for both parties and means that costs are primarily only charged to the client when revenue is generated. This benefits client who might otherwise need to build an in-house solution, requiring significant up-front investment without guarantee of return. Typical revenue shares range from 20-50% and vary based on the level of service allocated to each client and the scale of the business opportunity. 

Advanced service and support fees - Rightster also offers hosting, premium managed services, brand campaigns/solutions and additional software features for additional fees.

Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this?

Our CEOPatrick Walker, has over 20 years of experience at the crossroads of the media and technology industries. Patrick has held a number of senior roles in the sector including Chief Content Officer at Base79 and Senior Director of Content Partnerships at YouTube, where he was responsible for launching and managing YouTube in EMEA. 

Niall Dore, our CFO, joined from Experian Consumer Services where he was Interim Finance Director for UK & Ireland. He previously held the position of Finance Director at Betfair Group plc for over 5 years (including a year as Interim Group CFO). Niall not only brings public market experience to the Company but also a proven ability to execute different business models across the digital and technology sectors on a global scale, with a strong focus on creating shareholder value.

They are supported by a top-class management team, including Richard North in Singapore, having come across from Google, and the addition of new members from the recently acquired companies - Viral Spiral and Base79. These include myself as Founder and former CEO of Viral Spiral and former COO, Daniel Fisher, as well as Nick Savage, Ian Samuel and Ben Lister from Base79. 

Who’s bankrolling you?

We have a strong shareholder base who have been very supportive. Significant shareholders include Woodford Investment Management, Invesco Asset Management Limited and Vesuvius Limited.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?

Find a great market opportunity, develop a robust business plan and ensure that you have the right people and processes in place to execute upon that plan effectively. Take care of the people, the product and the profits.

What metrics do you look at every day?

We are focused on growing our revenues and as we enter the next stage of Rightster’s growth, we also have a strong focus on multi-national operational efficiency and getting to profitability.  

What’s been the most unexpectedly valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far?

Never take anything for granted, and always be prepared to be flexible, and pivot one or more areas of the business, to move with the market.  

What’s been your biggest mistake so far?

At Viral Spiral we tried to keep start-up costs down very early on by taking limited legal advice from a firm that was renowned but quoted the cheapest. Ultimately we weren’t too adversely affected in the long-run, but seeking the best legal (and tax) advice possible, is fundamental. 

What do you think is on the horizon for your industry in the year ahead?

The online video market has never been hotter as the $230bn TV advertising market opportunity continues to shift to digital. Although YouTube still represents a significant force in online video (and celebrated its tenth anniversary this month), other social media platforms such as Facebook, Vine, Snapchat and Periscope/Meerkat are vying for attention and also provide compelling destinations for audiences and brands. Amongst this backdrop, Rightster is building the world’s leading Multi-Platform Network.

Having proven that our combined offering is resonating with new and existing clients, 2015 will be about building a great culture and strengthening the product to help us build on the early wins and capitalise on even greater opportunities in 2015. We are thought leaders and disruptors in the fast changing and fragmenting world of online video. We are in the right place at the right time and excited about the opportunities that lay ahead.

 

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