Tribune Digital Ventures, a subsidiary of NASDAQ listed media company Tribune, has acquired 100% in What’s On, a TV EPG and listings company founded and headquartered in Mumbai, for $27 million, “subject to standard adjustments”. What’s-ON will continue to operate out of its headquarters in Mumbai, and its leadership team, including founder Atul Phadnis, will remain with the company. Earlier this year, Tribune had also acquired music and video technology and metadata company Gracenote.
The acquisition is based on the idea that EPG’s will remain the primary vehicle of discovery of TV shows and movies in the world, according to Rich Cusick, who oversees the TV metadata business for Tribune. This, we think is a questionable premiss. According to Cusick, “While data remains the foundation of what we do, our evolution will be centered on data-driven services and features to help define new TV platforms and experiences for viewers around the world.” Phadnis and his team will work with Cusick, .
Begun as What’s ON India, What’s ON appears to have expanded to the Middle East, Sri Lanka and South East Asia. Ut now covers listings in 16 countries, including United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia, Kenya and Sri Lanka. What’s ON aggregates some 1600 TV channels, and powers over 50 million set-top-boxes. It’s customers include STAR TV, Discovery Networks, Hathway Cable, Qatar Telecom, Samsung and Sony.
The acquisition expands Tribune’s TV listings and video metadata base to over 50 countries, in over 30 languages, reaching more than 600 million pay TV subscribers.