Friday, August 11, 2017

Tune-In Raises Funds To Buy Content

TuneIn Inc., the online radio company, has raised $50 million to fund its growing portfolio of programming for a paid service that rivals Sirius XM Holdings Inc., the dominant player in satellite radio.

According to Bloomberg, the deal values TuneIn at about $500 million, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the terms are private. Marker LLC, IVP and Comcast Ventures led the funding, which also included Sequoia Capital, Causeway Media Partners LLC and General Catalyst Partners LLC. The company has raised $140 million to date.

Tune-In will use the money to pay for rights to live sporting events and original programming like podcasts and music shows, which will help the company sign up more customers for a two-year-old subscription service. Paying subscribers can listen to live streams of games from major U.S. sports leagues, as well as foreign sports. Two-thirds of Tune-In users hail from outside the U.S.

“Two years ago we launched a premium subscription with a play by play of every game from every league, home and away, with worldwide rights for every connected device,” Chief Executive Officer John Donham said in an interview. “It turns out those deals are not cheap. We’re excited about building a subscription base. But in the mean time, we’re paying for that content.”

Founded in 2002, San Francisco-based TuneIn offers thousands of radio stations on demand for free to more than 75 million users. Fans of talk radio, sports and music can find their favorite stations and sample offerings that are unique to TuneIn, such as a temporary station for the Outside Lands music festival and an interview with reggae star Damian Marley.

The company needs more of those listeners to pay for its premium service, which adds audio books, live sporting events and commercial-free music channels for $9.99 a month. The company, which isn’t yet profitable, declined to say how many paying customers it has.

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