Exclusive: X Factor creator will curate playlists as service prepares to launch in North America next year
Simon Cowell has become the latest investor in the music TV streaming service Roxi, which aims to offer a Spotify-meets-MTV experience, as the British company embarks on expansion to the US.
Roxi, which had already attracted investors including Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams and the record labels Universal, Sony and Warner, has signed up the creator of the X Factor and Got Talent TV franchises as a curator of exclusive music video playlists for its users.
The London-based firm, which claims that more than 1 million fans have used its ad-supported free service or £6.99-a-month subscription tier since it launched in the UK and Ireland last year, has also signed a deal to become available on Samsung smart TVs.
Cowell, who in October struck a $125m (£103m) deal to securitise his Got Talent franchise globally, said: “I’m really happy to be part of bringing music video streaming to millions of TVs worldwide.”
He comes onboard as Roxi prepares to launch in North America next year, having received approaches from two unnamed companies seeking deals to make its streaming service available to their customers.
“We have had approaches from two major US-based media/tech companies, who see the opportunity to make Roxi available to their customers and subscribers, particularly in the USA,” said Rob Lewis, the chief executive and founder of Roxi. “The right partnership with a major player in the sector can allow Roxi to fast-forward its adoption, particularly in the US market, by several years.”
Lewis said Roxi, which offers 90m music videos, hundreds of music channels and 400,000 karaoke tracks, had appointed the corporate financial advisers Rockefeller to flesh out the right deals, with a new partner likely to take a stake in the business.
“The US is the world’s largest smart TV market and also the world’s largest music market by revenue,” he said. “The decision of how we partner with these partners and which partners – which is likely to involve equity participation as well – is critical to the rapid growth of the business.”
Roxi has UK distribution deals in place with Sky for Sky Q, Amazon for Fire TV and Google for Android TV.
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Cowell joins a list of backers including the McClaren Formula One team founder, Ron Dennis, the Saracens rugby club boss, Nigel Wray, and Guy Hands, the founder of the private equity firm Terra Firma, a one-time, ill-fated owner of the music business EMI.