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Montreal music-channel operator Stingray gets footing in Europe

Eric Boyko (C), president and CEO of Stingray Digital Group, poses with key executives (L-R :Mario Dubois, VP Technology, Gary Pelletier, VP Marketing, Eric Boyko, Eric Albert, Executive VP, Jean-Pierre Trahan, CFO) in Montreal, March 19, 2013.

Christinne Muschi/Christinne Muschi/The Globe and

Stingray Digital Group has found a European toehold in an unlikely corner of the television dial: a channel airing adult pop music videos.

The Montreal-based music services giant, which puts the Galaxie music channels on Canadian televisions and now reaches roughly 100 million subscribers around the world, will announce on Friday it has a deal to buy Archibald Media Group of Amsterdam for upward of $10-million.

The acquisition lands Stingray three television services – LiteTV, 100% NL TV and XLNT Radio – but more important, it secures a central European base for the company, which is eager to grow its business outside Canada. It adds four million subscribers from "the Benelux region" in the short term, but with international distribution it also potentially opens access to some 60 million more across the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany in the long run.

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"The big part of this deal is that, officially, we'll position the head office of Stingray Europe in Amsterdam," said Eric Boyko, the firm's president and CEO, in an interview.

The outpost will start with six employees and is expected to grow to about 20 people in the next year, Mr. Boyko said. Stingray already does some business in the Eurozone.

Two of Archibald Media's channels are an obvious fit. XLNT Radio distributes music channels through major Dutch TV providers like Ziggo and KPN, for example. But the acquisition of LiteTV is a subtle shift in Stingray's strategy, landing it a European equivalent to Much Music or MTV.

Though not a household name, it is one of the larger music companies in the world, anchored by the commercial-free Galaxie music channels, which TV providers pay to place on their subscribers' dials. It also offers music licensing services through Stingray Music.

Stingray currently makes about half of its sales outside Canada, but wants to push that figure to three quarters and sees central Europe as a key market. Mr. Boyko also confirmed he is currently considering buying a large television operator in Africa, but declined to provide specifics.

In a statement, Archibald Media president Robert Herder called Stingray "the perfect company" to acquire his because it "brings multinational scale in content acquisition and product innovation that can be combined with our local-market music knowledge and television channel programming expertise."

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About the Author
Banking Reporter

James Bradshaw is banking reporter for the Report on Business. He covered media from 2014 to 2016, and higher education from 2010 to 2014. Prior to that, he worked as a cultural reporter for Globe Arts, and has written for both the Toronto section and the editorial page. More

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