Stingray Group Inc.
Company typePublic
TSXRAY.A
IndustryMedia
Founded2007
Headquarters730, rue Wellington
Montreal, Quebec
H3C 1T4
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Eric Boyko
(president, CEO & founder)
RevenueIncrease US$ 71 million (2015)[1]
Number of employees
1,200 (2019)
Websitestingray.com

Stingray Group Inc. (formerly Stingray Digital and Stingray Digital Group) is a publicly traded Canadian music, media and technology company (TSX: RAY.A; RAY.B) based in Montreal, Quebec, with offices in Toronto, Ontario, as well as in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia. Stingray has close to 1,000 employees worldwide and reaches 540 million consumers in 160 countries.

The company is an industry leader in TV broadcasting, streaming, radio, business services, and advertising.

Stingray provides an array of music, digital, and advertising services to enterprise brands worldwide, including audio and video channels, subscription video-on-demand content, FAST channels, karaoke products and music apps, and in-car and on-board infotainment content.  

Stingray Business provides commercial solutions in music, in-store advertising solutions, digital signage, and AI-driven consumer insights and feedback.  

Stingray Advertising is North America's largest retail audio advertising network, delivering digital audio messaging to more than 20,000 major retail locations.  

Stingray Radio operates over 100 radio stations across Canada, reaching 7.5 million listeners weekly in their cars, workplaces, and homes.It is Canada's second-largest owner of radio stations, behind Bell Media Radio.[2][3][4]

History

Stingray was founded in May 2007 by Eric Boyko and Alexandre Taillefer, in partnership with Telesystem, following the purchase of karaoke company Soundchoice for $6 million. This gave them a catalogue of karaoke songs and a karaoke channel, allowing them to create The Karaoke Channel (now known as Stingray Karaoke).[3][5] Later that year, the company acquired cable TV commercial-free music service Galaxie from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for $65 million, renaming it Stingray Music.[6][7] Taillefer exited the company in 2010.[6] In 2011, Stingray acquired Music Choice Europe.[8]

In May 2015, Stingray raised $140 million in its initial public offering. The sale gave the firm a market value of $296 million.[3] It began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on June 3, 2015, under the ticker RAY. Novacap sold most of its stake in the company after the IPO.[5]

On May 2, 2018, Stingray announced its intent to acquire Newcap Radio for $506 million, marking the company's expansion into terrestrial radio broadcasting in Canada.[9] The sale was completed on October 26, 2018, with the family of company founder Harold R. Steele becoming Stingray's largest third-party shareholder.[10] In December 2018, the company changed its name to Stingray Group.[11]

Although its services face competition from consumer-targeted streaming offerings such as Apple Music and Spotify, the company had continued to emphasize its use of manually-curated playlists for its services (as opposed to algorithmic recommendations), and its focus on international expansion into territories where pay television is experiencing growth, and promoting complementary services such as mobile apps.[12]

In January 2022, Stingray acquired InStore Audio Network, rebranding the company as Stingray Advertising the following year.[13]

Properties

Business services

Karaoke services

Mobile apps

TV Channels – concerts and shows

TV Channels – 4K UHD

TV Channels – music video

Original content

Radio and broadcast stations

Competitors

Music Choice, which launched in 1991, is owned by Microsoft, Arris, Sony Corp. of America, EMI Music Publishing, Time Warner, Comcast, Cox Communications and Charter Communications. Music Choice is in 72 million American households.[15] The company filed the lawsuit against Stingray Digital in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in June 2016 over patent infringement. The patents in dispute are U.S. Patent Nos. 8,769,602, 9,357,245, 7,320,025 and 9,351,045 pertaining to the on screen formatting of Stingray Digital's channels.[16] Stingray countersued Music Choice on August 29, 2016, calling it a "smear campaign".[17]

Canadian businessman Evan Kosiner applied for and currently holds (as of October 2015) the only other favorable broadcast license to compete with Stingray within Canada.[18]

See also: Comparison of on-demand music streaming services

Acquisitions and partnerships

From its founding in 2007 through 2015, Stingray Digital acquired 18 companies, at a total cost of $150 million.[19][20] Its first purchase was Soundchoice, followed by Galaxie, from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.[20] In 2009, Stingray announced it would be acquiring the majority of assets in Max Trax from Corus Entertainment.[21] In August 2010, the company purchased Concert TV, a US video on demand service carrying recorded musical performances.[7] In April 2011, Stingray announced that it was purchasing London-based music streaming company Music Choice International, helping Stingray expand into Europe and Africa.[8] In May 2013, Stingray purchased the Canadian accounts of eMedia Network.[22] In 2014 Stingray acquired Lite TV from the Archibald Media Group,[23] and purchased Mood Media's residential digital music service in Latin America for $16 million.[2] In February 2015, Stingray acquired in-store commercial display company Groupe Viva.[24] In July 2015, Stingray announced it would pay $8 million for Netherlands-based Brava Group, operator of thematic television music channels Brava NL, Brava HD and Djazz.TV, with 35 million subscribers in 50 countries in Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean, with plans to bring the channels to the US, Canada and Latin America.[5][25]

In 2009, Stingray signed an agreement with Google to become a content partner by launching TheKARAOKEChannel YouTube channel.[8][26] In 2015, Stingray invested in AppDirect, which develops online stores for business software applications,[27] and made a deal with Air Canada to be the music provider on its flights. Stingray also has hotel chain partners, to feed Stingray's music into guest rooms.[28]

On June 21, 2016, Stingray announced that it would acquire the MuchMusic spin-off channels MuchVibe, MuchLoud, MuchRetro, and Juicebox from Bell Media.[29] The group of channels were previously owned by CHUM Limited.

In May 2017, Stingray acquired Israel-based Yokee Music LTD, provider of three social music apps regularly ranked in the music category's top 10 in 100 countries: Yokee, Yokee Guitar, and Yokee Piano.[30]

In January 2018, Stingray acquired the assets of New-York based Qello Concerts, the world's leading over-the-top (OTT) streaming service for full-length, on-demand performances, concert films, and music documentaries — reaching users in more than 160 countries.[31]

In June 2018, in partnership with ADISQ and its website PalmarèsADISQ, Stingray launched PalmarèsADISQ par Stingray, a new music channel devoted to Quebecois and French-Canadian music.[32]

In August 2018, Stingray announced that it had made a $120 million takeover bid for its main competitor in the United States, Music Choice.[33] In January 2019, Stingray abandoned the bid, shortly after having reached a deal with Altice USA to replace Music Choice on its cablesystems.[34][35]

Stingray Brava was closed and merged with Stingray Classica on March 1, 2019.[36]

References

  1. ^ Damon van der Lindeinvesting/stingray-digital-group-inc-plans-global-expansion-after-140mGroup Inc plans global expansion after $140M IPO,"] Financial Post, June 3, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Nicolas Van Praet, "Entrepreneur behind Galaxie music is betting on TV's survival," Financial Post, January 24, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Doug Alexander, "Stingray Digital Raises C$140 Million in IPO," Bloomberg Businessweek, May 26, 2015.
  4. ^ "Stingray Digital to raise $140M in IPO," CBC News, May 27, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Damon van der Linde, "Stingray Digital Group Inc plays to a bigger crowd with first acquisition since IPO," Financial Post, July 24, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Paul Delean, "Stingray Digital in a growth groove," Archived 2017-08-03 at the Wayback Machine Montreal Gazette, July 24, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Grant Robertson, "Stingray goes live with deal for Concert TV," The Globe and Mail, August 4, 2010.
  8. ^ a b c Grant Robertson, "Stingray Digital to buy London's Music Choice International," The Globe and Mail, April 4, 2011.
  9. ^ "Stingray Digital pushes into radio with $506-million purchase of Newfoundland Capital". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2018-05-06.
  10. ^ "CRTC Approves $506-Million Sale of Newcap Radio to Stingray". VOCM. Archived from the original on 2019-07-08. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  11. ^ "Stingray Announces Finalization of Name Change". Stingray. 3 December 2018. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  12. ^ "Why Stingray Digital is betting it all against streaming music". Canadian Business. 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2018-05-06.
  13. ^ "A new beginning for ISAN". InStore Audio Network. Archived from the original on 2022-08-09.
  14. ^ "Stingray at the Forefront of the 4K Revolution with the Acquisition of Festival 4K". Stingray. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  15. ^ PowerPoint Presentation Archived 2016-11-04 at the Wayback Machine Music Choice 2016-06-7
  16. ^ Music Choice Sues Stingray, Accusing TV Rival of Patent Infringement Archived 2016-11-04 at the Wayback Machine Music Choice 2016-06-6
  17. ^ Stingray counters Music Choice’s lawsuit, calls it smear campaign Globe And Mail 2016-08-30
  18. ^ Broadcasting Decision 2015-449 CRTC 2015-10-1
  19. ^ Bertrand Marotte, "Stingray ups ante in mobile music sphere with new version of its app," The Globe and Mail, July 6, 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Stingray Digital said to seek about $120M in IPO," Montreal Gazette, April 24, 2015.
  21. ^ Corus Enters Agreement with Stingray Digital For Pay Audio Service Archived 2012-07-24 at archive.today; Broadcaster Magazine; 2009-02-13
  22. ^ Josh O'Kane, "In Muzak battle, Stingray snags eMedia's Canadian accounts," The Globe and Mail, May 1, 2013.
  23. ^ Robert Briel, "Stingray Digital acquires Dutch music channels," Broadband TV News, June 13, 2014.
  24. ^ Dominique Lemoine, "Customer Experience: Stingray acquires Viva Group," Direction Informatique, February 17, 2015.
  25. ^ "Music services company Stingray Digital perks ears for acquisitions," CTV News, August 12, 2015.
  26. ^ Grant Robertson, "Singing for profit, in the key of Google," The Globe and Mail, July 14, 2009.
  27. ^ Yuliya Chernova, "AppDirect Lands $110 Million at More Than $1 Billion Valuation," Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2015.
  28. ^ David Friend, "Montreal's Stingray Digital wades into music streaming waters," Toronto Star, July 6, 2015.
  29. ^ STINGRAY GROWS ITS CHANNEL PORTFOLIO WITH THE ACQUISITION OF FOUR (4) BELL MEDIA MUSIC VIDEO CHANNELS Stingray Press Release 2016-06-21
  30. ^ Inc, Stingray Group (2017-05-09). "Stingray Acquires Yokee Music LTD". Globe Newswire. Retrieved 2023-07-31. ((cite news)): |last= has generic name (help)
  31. ^ Inc, Stingray Group (2018-01-03). "Stingray Acquires Qello Concerts". Globe Newswire. Retrieved 2023-07-31. ((cite news)): |last= has generic name (help)
  32. ^ "Palmarès ADISQ: Stingray launches francophone music video channel". Montreal Gazette. 2018-06-15. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  33. ^ Spangler, Todd (2018-08-03). "Music Choice Targeted in $120 Million Hostile Takeover Bid by Canada's Stingray". Variety. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  34. ^ "Stingray abandons move to acquire Music Choice". Digital TV Europe. 2019-01-04. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  35. ^ Farrell, Mike (2 January 2019). "Stingray Abandons Music Choice Takeover Bid". Multichannel. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  36. ^ Jarco Kriek (20 January 2019). "Verschraling zenderaanbod gaat door: weer tv-zender minder" (in Dutch). TotaalTV.nl.