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Sky, Channel 4 invest in Franks

UK broadcasters Sky and Channel 4 have invested in TRX, the online TV rights portal created by Matthew and David Frank.

The investment from the satcaster and Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund has been made in TRX’s holding company Dial Square 86. It gives the two broadcasters undisclosed minority stakes in the firm, which was established in 2014, and marks the first time Sky and C4 have co-invested in a start-up.

The Franks, former RDF Media founders and Zodiak Media executives, created the deal-making tool last year. It enables rights deals to be competed online and allows distributors to reach buyers in new international markets, which in turn get access to rights that would otherwise have been difficult to secure.

The latest funding round, which also includes investment from a number of private individuals, has raised £5.2m (US$6.74m) for the business.

TRX soft launched in Asia last month and already holds 5,000 hours of programming from firms including Sky Vision, Discovery Communications, All3Media International and Hat Trick International.

Its advisory board includes key industry figures such as Pact CEO John McVay, Studio Lambert founder and CEO Stephen Lambert and CEO of Shine International Nadine Nohr.

David Frank, CEO of Dial Square 86 and chairman of TRX, said: “There is real momentum behind TRX now and we’re excited about launching a truly global product that can make programme distribution faster and easier while opening up the TV rights market to previously disenfranchised buyers and delivering extra value to rights holders.”

David Abraham, CEO of Channel 4, said: “In post-Brexit Britain, it’s even more important for the UK’s creative industries to have access to innovative ways of trading across the globe.

“We recognise that the new TRX tool is a valuable online resource which will enable indies to connect with the world and export their programmes in a digital marketplace and will help support a buoyant UK indie sector well into the future.”

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