EXCLUSIVE: True Royalty TV, the streaming service dedicated to documenting the lives of royal families around the world, has spoken to high-profile industry players as it bids to raise $12M to expand its library content.
Deadline understands that the company has held exploratory talks with Disney, Viacom and ITV among others as part of its fundraising efforts, which it hopes will establish it as a global destination for TV shows about royalty.
It comes as True Royalty today announced a deal with Vimeo to power the streaming service, while it is also preparing to premiere its latest original commission: Meghan for President?, made by Spun Gold, the British indie which is also a True Royalty shareholder.
True Royalty CEO Gregor Angus would not be drawn on specific conversations the company is having with potential backers, but said the net is wide because it is in the early stages of the fundraise.
“Frankly anyone you can imagine we’re talking to at the moment because that’s the stage of the raise,” he said. “We want to start in November locking down the conversations that are serious for both parties and by the end of the year, we want to be pretty sure who we’re partnering with.”
Angus did admit, however, that it won’t be straightforward to snag a big investor. “The tricky thing for us is we are actually still relatively early and small as a company, so to get the attention of the M&A departments of the massive strategics is not that easy to do. With the tectonic plates shifting, they’re pretty focused on big deals,” he explained.
True Royalty has hired Laurence Hollingworth, J.P. Morgan’s former vice chairman of equity capital markets in EMEA, as chairman to help navigate the streamer through the investment talks. Hollingworth was nicknamed “Mr IPO” during his time at J.P. Morgan, and Angus said he knows when a deal is real or not.
Viacom has been acquisitive in the streaming space, buying ad-funded Pluto TV for $340M in January, while Disney is poised to launch Disney+ globally on November 12. ITV already has ITV Hub, while it controls BritBox, a service it is planning to launch in the UK before the end of the year in partnership with the BBC.
The $12M will primarily be used to supercharge True Royalty’s content offering through acquisitions and original commissions. Spun Gold is already taking orders from the streamer, which will also entertain pitches from other producers. True Royalty wants to retain exclusivity over its originals.
The company forecasts that it will have up to 30,000 paying subscribers by the end of the year, at a run rate of around 2,000 subscribers a month. The streamer is now available on Roku thanks to the Vimeo deal, while other distribution partners include Comcast’s Xfinity X1, Apple TV, Android, and iOS.
The plan is to scale up significantly from January 2020, with the ambition of having between 100,000 and 500,000 subscribers by the end of next year. “I’m being encouraged to go more towards 500, but that’s not at all how we are planning our budgeting, we’re way more conservative than that,” Angus said.
Asked if True Royalty has any subscribers within the British royal household, Angus joked: “I sure hope so. If they were to contact me for a VIP account, I’d probably be willing.”
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