Triller parent makes 2 acquisitions, names new CEO as content ambitions grow

Dive Brief:

  • TrillerNet, owner of the social video app Triller, has acquired FITE TV, a live and pay-per-view streaming platform focused on combat sports, according to a news release. Financial terms of the transaction, which was advised by Alantra, were not disclosed.
  • FITE TV claims to command over 10 million users, as well as 4 million registered sports and entertainment fans. It has existing partnerships with sports brands including Top Rank, AEW, PBC, ONE Championship, WWE, Impact, Golden Boy Promotions and Matchroom Boxing.
  • TrillerNet this week also acquired the conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform Amplify.ai and named the firm’s co-founder Mahi de Silva as its new CEO, per details shared with Marketing Dive. De Silva previously served as non-executive chairman of TrillerNet. Current TrillerNet chief executive Mike Lu will transition to the role of president.

Dive Insight:

TrillerNet, until recently referred to as Triller Network, further builds out its stable of content offerings and technology capabilities with the FITE TV and Amplify.ai acquisitions. While the company did not break out the valuation of the deals, a representative in an email said TrillerNet has spent roughly $250 million in acquisitions over the past 18 months.

Proxima Media, the majority owner of Triller, is trying to position the company in a unique place at the intersection of apps, lifestyle platforms and entertainment. Proxima enacted a more ambitious growth plan for Triller in November with the hire of Tuhin Roy, whose background includes stints at Universal Music Group, Perkins Coie LLP and helping to accelerate digital media companies like Giphy, Pandora and Loud.

Acquisitions could help Triller close the gap with rivals such as TikTok, a more popular platform to which Triller is frequently compared. The FITE TV deal speaks to how TrillerNet is doubling down on content categories that are resonating with users, particularly boxing and other combat sports.

Last November, Triller streamed two high-profile boxing matches, including a controversial showdown between social media influencer Jake Paul and former NBA player Nate Robinson. Boxing has only become a larger part of Triller’s identity since. FITE TV will support Triller Fight Club, a live-event platform created in partnership with Snoop Dogg, with the broadcast of a headline fight between Jake Paul and Ben Askren on April 17.

TrillerNet’s other acquisitions speak to an appetite for filling the void in live events caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, it snapped up the livestreaming platform Verzuz, which formed at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis as a way to support musical artists. Verzuz content originally centered on rap battles but has expanded to other types of live performances.

TrillerNet also controls TrillerTV, a bid to break into linear-style TV programming that was met with technical glitches upon its mid-February launch. TrillerNet says the offering now hosts 65 original half-hour digital series, including a show from Jake Paul.

With a wider range of talent gravitating toward TrillerNet properties, the upstart has the chance to attract more advertising dollars. Amplify.ai, already integrated into the main Triller app, helps influencers and their brand partners better track, measure and monetize their content through AI-based tools and dashboards. The deal, along with appointing de Silva as CEO, throws a clearer spotlight on Triller’s efforts to link content and commerce, aligning with a shopping-minded strategy that other social apps — including TikTok — are focusing on.

Amplify.ai will act as a wholly owned subsidiary under TrillerNet, continuing to serve its brand clients at the global level, according to a news release. Notably, its platform was recently used by Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, but it serves marketers in a variety of categories including CPG, financial services and automotive.

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