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Zone.tv CEO Jeff Weber told StreamTV Insider that the most significant strategic results of the BCI deal is its enhanced ability to acquire quality content. (Zone.tv)
Block Communications Inc (BCI) this week acquired free ad-supported streamer zone.tv in a move the company said provides financial certainty and strategic support to allow it to compete more aggressively in the FAST space.
BCI acquired Zone.tv intellectual property and assets, including the “zone.ify” free ad-supported streaming service that’s available on the market today, from existing owner ES3. Financial terms were not disclosed.
BCI was already an investor in Zone.tv. In 2022 ES3 and Zone.tv as its subsidiary announced closing $22.5 million in new capital, in a funding round that included both equity from BCI as a new partner, alongside debt refinancing with the Toronto-Dominion Bank. Following this week’s acquisition, BCI will continue to have a minority stake in ES3.
Zone.tv has around 25 employees, all of whom will be retained. Zone.tv CEO Jeff Weber will continue to run the company under the new ownership. In an interview conducted via email, Weber confirmed to StreamTV Insider that the company is already in the process of hiring additional employees across content, sales, engineering and development.
Following the investment from BCI, Zone.tv aims to grow its user base alongside more aggressive marketing and also attract more studio and content partners to expand programming on the service. Just how many users Zone-ify already counts hasn’t been disclosed. Weber declined to share any usage or monthly active user data, but said the company will have more to say as the year continues.
Significantly expanding content
Zone.tv’s service currently offers movies on-demand along with thematic short-form linear channels, with content coming from hundreds of partners, including Magnolia Studios, World Poker Tout, AXS TV and others.
And expanding its offering through content acquisition is the key near-term focus.
“The most significant strategic result of the transaction is our significantly enhanced ability to acquire quality content,” Weber told STV via email. “We have already seen significant movement amongst the leading content studios in the world based on our announcement.” Viewers can expect to see substantial changes to Zone.ify’s library in the next several weeks and months, he added.