AT&T has purchased the portion of subscription, advertising and content company Otter Media that it didn’t already own from Chernin Group. Chernin had controlling interest in Otter, a joint venture between AT&T and Chernin. With the Otter Media buy, AT&T adds more content assets to its new WarnerMedia unit.
Otter Media’s portfolio includes Ellation, an online subscription video service provider, full-service digital media company, Fullscreen, and its Rooster Teeth brand. Ellation includes the Crunchyroll and VRV platforms. Crunchyroll is a SVOD service that gives millions of fans access to a large library of anime content. VRV aggregates and distributes content from multiple over-the-top content providers, including Crunchyroll and Rooster Teeth.
The joint venture started four years earlier as a way to invest and grow direct-to-consumer subscription and advertising models and the popularity of new digital media brands. Thanks to the sharp growth in mobile devices and online video viewing, the company’s global audience grew to more than 93 million unique monthly consumers. In 2018, Otter Media is on pace to deliver over 75 billion video views.
The plan is for Otter Media to be part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit.
“We are thrilled to incorporate the Otter Media brands and talent into WarnerMedia,” said John Stankey, WarnerMedia CEO, in a prepared statement. “We look to harness Otter’s expertise in feeding the passion of on-line audiences to augment our portfolio of digital assets and help us further engage, connect and entertain consumers around the globe.”
AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit was created after the close of the Time Warner acquisition in June 2018. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it did not have a material effect on AT&T’s first-half 2018 results when the majority of the deal was funded. This acquisition does not change the company’s plan to reduce its net-debt-to-adjusted-EBITDA ratio to the 2.5x range by the end of 2019 and to its historical range by the end of 2022.