When Proactive Investors first met Gert Rieder last February his firm, Falcon Acquisitions, had just listed on the London Stock Exchange.
At that point the company was a shell - and all chairman Rieder really had was a business plan and some fairly lofty ambitions in the world of online TV.
In the last year-and-half things have changed - the company is now called Falcon Media House PLC (LON:FAL) and it has three separate businesses.
They are Quiptel, Teevee and Teevee Makers. We will look at each in detail later in the article.
First, it is probably worth reminding ourselves just what Falcon set out to do at listing so we can see how far it has come.
Its plan was to become a player in the OTT market
For the uninitiated, OTT stands for over- the-top. In the world of TV it refers to the internet-driven services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
This is a huge and growing area of the media. The major OTT companies had 92.1mln subscribers at the end of 2014, generating revenues of around US$8bn.
By 2019 – so just two years from now – we are looking at a more than threefold increase in the number of people using subscription TV and film services, creating a market worth US$32bn annually.
So, grabbing even a tiny proportion of the industry’s growing income stream could be potentially huge.
Two key deals
Falcon’s first deal was unveiled around a year ago as it announced it would acquire Orbital Multi Media. However it took until this year for the £4mln transaction to be finalised.
In that time it also picked up Teevee Networks for £500,000.
The two purchases are now the bedrock of the Falcon Media House,
Quiptel was the major asset of Orbital. It has developed technology that enables customers such as media content owners, mobile phone groups and broadband providers to deliver content via their existing infrastructure.
Its income comes from the sale of licences in a software-as-a-service revenue model although Falcon uses the platform to deliver its own content too.
Teevee is the company’s consumer offering, which is on the hunt for exclusive streaming rights to a “range of quality independent sports and lifestyle programmes and original shows”.
In June it launched a beta-version of a channel that will allow fans to live stream more than 30 men’s and women’s college sports.
Users will have access to soccer, basketball and golf matches from the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) – the largest US east coast collegiate athletic college conference comprising approximately 250 schools.
As well as live events, the ECAC Network – which will launch commercially in time for the 2017/18 academic year – will also offer a range of on-demand features and lifestyle content.
The new service uses Quiptel Q-Flow software.
“This marks the beginning of our journey to offer seamless streaming of high quality content in the US and constitutes a significant step in realising our ambition to revolutionise the OTT industry by offering viewers a superior experience,” said chairman Rieder.
The final piece in the Falcon jigsaw is Teevee Makers, which styles itself as a “new kind of production house”.
Put simply, the company creates and licences in niche content (so it doesn’t produce the Amazon-prime or Netflix style multi-million dollar epics such as The Last Tycoon and The Crown).
What it does is work with the creators and advertisers to find a commercial route to market.
Falcon’s technology tie-ups with India’s Tata Communications and along with LaserNet Group, Verimatrix and Media Nucleus, which gives the company access to Africa, the Middle East and south-east Asia.
In an interview with Proactive’s Andrew Scott, chairman Rieder said: “We have some very big partnerships and we are as a company in a pre-revenue phase.
“So it is all about building partnerships with the businesses that will help us go into the markets in Africa, Asia and the US.
“They will help us globalise this company, grow revenue and close deals with customers.”