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ENGINE Media Forms News, Sports, and Esports Triple Threat

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The explosion in the popularity of esports and the continued growth of cord cutting has led the owners of Torque Esports, WinView, and Frankly Media to form ENGINE Media Holdings, calling it the "first company dedicated to live news, sports, and esports."

"Entertainment programming is going on-demand, and as the cable and satellite bundle break down, what's left is live news and sports," ENGINE executive chairman Tom Rogers told CNBC. "But as that bundle breaks down, the subscriber fees that have supported news and sports aren't there either. So you have to think of developing … a platform for the industry to develop new sources of revenue … with the bundle going elsewhere to Netflix and other streaming services. We have created the first vehicle under one roof to be able to have those kinds of services."

ENGINE stands for "esports, news, gaming, interactive network, engagement." The new company will be led by Darren Cox, CEO of Torque Esports, and Lou Schwartz, CEO of Frankly. “Having been involved for many years in the distribution of online video, it has become clear to me that there is a strong need for a company that can serve the commercial interests of news and sports media outlets in a world where consumers increasingly consume content through a mobile device or expect an interactive experience rather than passive viewing," Schwartz said in a press release. "ENGINE will not only have the resources to manage and distribute content, but also meet the interests of advertisers and brands related to that content while driving direct-to-consumer gaming and other offerings that generate cash through entry fees. Between the 100 million monthly touch points of consumers that the company currently has, not to mention the leading data and analytics company in esports, the ability to provide major revenue opportunities through the company’s combined data arsenal is astounding.”

Torque Esports includes Eden Games, developers of the official Formula 1 racing game; Stream Hatchet, a data and analytics service for measuring esport fan engagement across platforms like Twitch and YouTube; UMG, an esports competition provider offering live entertainments and online play with more than 2.2 million registered players and more than 17 million online matches under its belt; the World's Fastest Gamer franchise; and an esports arena in Miami. (For more about Torque Esports, see our interview with Torque's Darcy Lorincz from Streaming Media West, recorded before the announcement of Engine)

Frankly Media provides live and on-demand streaming for media outlets including CNN and Vice, as well as more than 1,200 local broadcast stations across the United States. It reaches more than 75%. It also offers first-party data and digital advertising sales for digital news clients including Newsweek, as well as a content management system for news operations that allows them to repurpose live linear newscasts for mobile and connected TV distribution. 

WinView offers a second screen app that allows viewers to play games while watching live sports on TV and win cash prizes, as well as a patent portfolio relating to mobile "in play" games of skill and betting on live sports and esports. 

"We think we have a really interesting way of allowing people to compete for prizes but also broadening the platform so the millions of viewers of those competitions can equally participate," Rogers told CNBC. "That combination of content, distribution, and measuring the analytics—being the Nielsen of esports, which is a key role of this combined company—we think gives us a data play that has over 100 million touchpoints a month, which is really very substantial reach already."

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