Turner buys Bigballs stake

The international arm of Turner has bought into Bigballs Media marking the first investment for the company’s new Digital Ventures & Innovation group.

Bigballs owns the Copa90 video platform and online channel, which specialises in football-based fan content. It does not own rights to games, but has wraparound programming and claims 12 million subs and 1.5 billion video views to date.

BBM will use the injection of funding from Turner to expand internationally and for content production and distribution.

Turner and BBM will also work together on programming and distribution, building on BBM’s existing relationship with Turner’s sports news site Bleacher Report.

BBM will also make content for Turner nets and the pair will collaborate on branded content opportunities.

Turner’s sport-related assets include Esporte Interativo and Turner Sports.

Aksel van der Wal, head of Digital Ventures & Innovation, will take a seat on BBM’s board of directors, and Alex Vargas, COO Bleacher Report, becomes a board observer.

Partnering with relevant brands is a core part of our strategy to compete and lead in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape,” Aksel van der Wal said.

“We see really exciting opportunities to work with BBM in developing creative ways to engage new audiences, in particular expanding our growing touch points with millennials while also offering innovative new platforms for advertisers.”

Tom Thirlwall, CEO BBM, said: “Our ambition is to be the world’s most influential football media business by the time the 2018 World Cup kicks off and this investment and partnership with Turner is a decisive step towards making that a reality.

“We had significant interest in our round but Turner was by far and away the most compelling because of their team, vision and the strategic opportunities for both our businesses.”