|Headquarters||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Eric Boyko |
(President, CEO & founder)
|Revenue||US$ 71 million (2015)|
Number of employees
Stingray Group, Inc. (formerly Stingray Digital and Stingray Digital Group) is a publicly traded Canadian media and entertainment company based in Montreal, Quebec, with offices in the United States, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Israel, Australia and South Korea. The company broadcasts music and video content on platforms including cable and satellite television, IPTV, Internet, mobile devices and game consoles, and develops customized audio and digital services for retailers, hotels and other commercial clients.
In 2018, the company entered the terrestrial radio market by acquiring Canadian radio station group Newcap Radio for $506 million. Newcap's owner, the family of Harold R. Steele, became Stingray's largest outside shareholder as a result.
Stingray Digital 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). 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. Taillefer exited the company in 2010. In 2011, Stingray acquired Music Choice Europe.
In May 2015, Stingray raised $140 million in its initial public offering. The sale gave the firm a market value of $296 million. 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.
Between 2008 and 2015, Stingray's annual revenue grew from $7.1 million to $71 million CAD. As of October 2015, Stingray services reached an estimated 135 million pay television subscribers in 127 countries, and provides music playlists for 74,000 stores in Canada, including chain stores Reitmans and Subway.
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 complimentary services such as mobile apps.
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. The sale was completed on October 26, 2018, with the family of company founder Harold R. Steele becoming Stingray's largest third-party shareholder.
In August 2018, Stingray announced that it had made a $120 million takeover bid for its main competitor in the United States, Music Choice. In January 2019, Stingray abandoned the bid, shortly after having reached a deal with Altice USA to replace Music Choice on its cablesystems.
In December 2018, the company officially changed its name to Stingray Group, Inc.
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. 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. Stingray countersued Music Choice on August 29, 2016 calling it a "smear campaign".
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.
From its founding in 2007 through 2015, Stingray Digital acquired 18 companies, at a total cost of $150 million. Its first purchase was Soundchoice, followed by Galaxie, from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2009, Stingray announced it would be acquiring the majority of assets in Max Trax from Corus Entertainment. In August 2010, the company purchased Concert TV, a US video on demand service carrying recorded musical performances. In April 2011, Stingray announced that it was purchasing London-based music streaming company Music Choice International, helping Stingray expand into Europe and Africa. In May 2013, Stingray purchased the Canadian accounts of eMedia Network. In 2014 Stingray acquired Lite TV from the Archibald Media Group, and purchased Mood Media's residential digital music service in Latin America for $16 million. In February 2015, Stingray acquired in-store commercial display company Groupe Viva. 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.
In 2009, Stingray signed an agreement with Google to become a content partner by launching TheKARAOKEChannel YouTube channel. In 2015, Stingray invested in App Direct, which develops online stores for business software applications, 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.