Applicaster Takes $20M in Funding, Serves D2C Media Market
Applicaster, a company that fuels the booming direct-to-consumer media market, announced it has taken in $20 million in funding. This growth round was led by Viola Growth, and included commitments from existing investors 83 North, Pitango, Saban Ventures, and Planven Investments.
Applicaster runs a software-as-a-service platform called Zapp that lets content owners create and launch over-the-top D2C services and integrate media in third-party apps. Existing customers include DirecTV, the New York Giants, and Dish Nation.
The company plans to use this funding to expand into new geographies and grow its product features.
“In the past year, we’ve seen tremendous growth,” says Jonathan Laor, CEO of Applicaster. “As the public continues to consume content in various ways—whether that’s on a TV screen, through a mobile app or widget—brands must consider how to reach longstanding and new audiences in creative ways. At Applicaster, we’re eager to continue working with content providers to ultimately ensure viewers are engaged and receptive.”
In related D2C news, researchers at the NPD Group announced that 15% of U.S. households subscribe to a direct-to-consumer service. That percentage tripled over the last three years, which the company ascribes to new service launches, faster home broadband, and connected TV sales. It finds that people subscribe to services most often because the price is right and they want to get select channels, but rarely because they want to end their pay TV subscription.
As consumers adopt new services, NPD sees a bright future for aggregators: “DTC channel aggregators such as Amazon, Roku, Hulu, Sling TV, and other potential market entrants stand to gain a lot by garnering subscription revenue for managing DTC channel transactions," says John Buffone, executive director, industry analyst for NPD Connected Intelligence.
Having an exclusive new Star Trek series got viewers to take a look, but keeping them around required an investment in programming and performance marketing.
With Apple, Warner, and Disney prepare to launch direct-to-consumer (D2C) offerings, other streaming services might struggle to keep up. At CES, executives from YouTube, Hulu, FandangoNow, Tubi, and others offered suggestions on how to compete.