With a vast array of platforms and channels making the kids market increasingly complex, former RDF Media and Zodiak executives David and Matthew Frank decided to make things simple. The duo’s RightsXchange (TRX) is a user-friendly, secure online dealmaking tool for buying and selling TV rights that launched internationally last October.
While the platform is open to content of all genres and age groups, ex-Zodiak Kids UK CEO and current senior exec of Dial Square 86 Nigel Pickard was brought on to specifically manage TRX’s kids business. (TRX is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dial Square 86, a UK-based holding company that pinpoints disruption opportunities in content markets.)
In just three months, the platform has grown to feature roughly 40,000 hours of kids and adult content from 75 distributors, which is available 24/7 to 650-plus buyers. Jetpack Distribution, Studio 100, 9 Story Media Group and Sinking Ship Entertainment are among the registered companies, and BBC Worldwide and Sky recently listed their entire catalogs.
Sky, for one, increased its investment in the business from US$1.3 million (£1 million) to US$2.7 million (£2 million) last November. And to date, the Frank brothers have raised US$15 million (£11 million) to run the platform, which will also include an app version in the near future.
“TRX is all about expanding the bandwidth of the distribution sales team and making it easier for buyers to access content,” says Pickard. “The platform offers instant clarity on the rights available to both traditional and online outlets.”
Rights through TRX can currently be acquired for free-TV, pay-TV, SVOD, FVOD, AVOD, TVOD, home entertainment and in-flight. Sports, movie and short-form rights are expected in the next year. “Most distributors put two to four shows up and a screener, and the idea is for both the seller and the buyer to stay within TRX to view a show,” says Pickard. “Videos can’t be downloaded from the site, and sellers can only see their own library. All deals are confidential. With TRX, a buyer only knows when they’ve been outbid. They don’t know by how much or by whom.”
The site lets distributors pick as many territories as they like, allowing them to update their content quickly and at any time. Things can also be removed from the system at a moment’s notice.
“There is no cost for distributors to place and upload shows. The platform makes its money because we place a transaction fee on a successful deal, and then we invoice a percentage. It’s a pretty modest fee, between 5% and 9%, depending on the volume of shows,” says Pickard. “So the seller pays us, and it’s still free for the buyer. It’s not like some other matchmaking sites that charge subscription fees for both buyers and sellers. Our model is about creating a marketplace as simple as possible, and the more players there are, the stronger the market is.”
As for in-person meetings, Pickard says they are still a valuable part of the business. “Face-to-face meetings are important, but there are more than 21,000 buyers in the world, and there are only so many hours you can do half-hour meetings at markets,” he admits. “I am a producer and I will still go see the BBC or Nickelodeon because they are my key buyers.”