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, 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.
|Headquarters||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Eric Boyko |
(President, CEO & founder)
|Revenue||US$ 71 million (2015)|
Number of employees
|1 200 (2019)|
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.
Stingray properties include:
- Stingray Radio, a group of terrestrial radio and television stations in Canada, formerly operating as Newcap Radio.
- Stingray Music, a broad list of channels available on cable television as well as through a mobile app and web player
- Stingray Karaoke, a licensed karaoke supplier and an interactive television and Internet service
- Stingray Business, a provider of in-store music licensed for commercial use, audio-visual systems and TV screens
- Stingray iConcerts, an on-demand service broadcasting live music performances
- Stingray Music Videos, an on-demand music video service
- Stingray Ambiance, a television channel showing relaxing scenery accompanied by soothing music
- Stingray Lite TV, a European pop music video channel.
- Stingray Brava
- Stingray Country
- Stingray Djazz
- Stingray Vibe
- Stingray Loud
- Stingray Retro
- Stingray Juicebox
- Stingray Festival 4K 
- Stingray Classica, a German TV channel.
- Stingray Now 4K
- Stingray Hits!
- PalmarèsADISQ par Stingray
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.
Acquisitions and partnershipsEdit
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.
- Damon van der Linde, "Stingray Digital Group Inc plans global expansion after $140M IPO," Financial Post, June 3, 2015.
- Nicolas Van Praet, "Entrepreneur behind Galaxie music is betting on TV's survival," Financial Post, January 24, 2014.
- Doug Alexander, "Stingray Digital Raises C$140 Million in IPO," Bloomberg Businessweek, May 26, 2015.
- "Stingray Digital to raise $140M in IPO," CBC News, May 27, 2015.
- Damon van der Linde, "Stingray Digital Group Inc plays to a bigger crowd with first acquisition since IPO," Financial Post, July 24, 2015.
- Paul Delean, "Stingray Digital in a growth groove," Montreal Gazette, July 24, 2014.
- Grant Robertson, "Stingray goes live with deal for Concert TV," The Globe and Mail, August 4, 2010.
- Grant Robertson, "Stingray Digital to buy London's Music Choice International," The Globe and Mail, April 4, 2011.
- Chris Dziadul, "Stingray's Brava buys Cultuur 7," Broadband TV News, October 6, 2015.
- Gerrit De Vynck, "Stingray says nesting its service in cable TV packages keeps it safe from Apple, Spotify, Rdio," Montreal Gazette, June 16, 2015.
- "Why Stingray Digital is betting it all against streaming music". Canadian Business. 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2018-05-06.
- "Stingray Digital pushes into radio with $506-million purchase of Newfoundland Capital". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2018-05-06.
- "CRTC Approves $506-Million Sale of Newcap Radio to Stingray". VOCM. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
- "Palmarès ADISQ: Stingray launches francophone music video channel". Montreal Gazette. 2018-06-15. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
- Spangler, Todd; Spangler, Todd (2018-08-03). "Music Choice Targeted in $120 Million Hostile Takeover Bid by Canada's Stingray". Variety. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
- "Stingray abandons move to acquire Music Choice". Digital TV Europe. 2019-01-04. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
- Farrell, Mike. "Stingray Abandons Music Choice Takeover Bid". Multichannel. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
- "Stingray Announces Finalization of Name Change". Stingray. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
- Jarco Kriek (20 January 2019). "Verschraling zenderaanbod gaat door: weer tv-zender minder" (in Dutch). TotaalTV.nl.
- Robert Briel, "Q&A with Stingray's Eric Boyko," Broadband TV News, March 10, 2015.
- "Stingray at the Forefront of the 4K Revolution with the Acquisition of Festival 4K". Stingray. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
- PowerPoint Presentation Music Choice 2016-06-7
- Music Choice Sues Stingray, Accusing TV Rival of Patent Infringement Music Choice 2016-06-6
- Stingray counters Music Choice’s lawsuit, calls it smear campaign Globe And Mail 2016-08-30
- Broadcasting Decision 2015-449 CRTC 2015-10-1
- Bertrand Marotte, "Stingray ups ante in mobile music sphere with new version of its app," The Globe and Mail, July 6, 2015.
- "Stingray Digital said to seek about $120M in IPO," Montreal Gazette, April 24, 2015.
- Corus Enters Agreement with Stingray Digital For Pay Audio Service; Broadcaster Magazine; 2009-02-13
- Josh O'Kane, "In Muzak battle, Stingray snags eMedia's Canadian accounts," The Globe and Mail, May 1, 2013.
- Robert Briel, "Stingray Digital acquires Dutch music channels," Broadband TV News, June 13, 2014.
- Dominique Lemoine, "Customer Experience: Stingray acquires Viva Group," Direction Informatique, February 17, 2015.
- "Music services company Stingray Digital perks ears for acquisitions," CTV News, August 12, 2015.
- Grant Robertson, "Singing for profit, in the key of Google," The Globe and Mail, July 14, 2009.
- Yuliya Chernova, "AppDirect Lands $110 Million at More Than $1 Billion Valuation," Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2015.
- David Friend, "Montreal's Stingray Digital wades into music streaming waters," Toronto Star, July 6, 2015.
- STINGRAY GROWS ITS CHANNEL PORTFOLIO WITH THE ACQUISITION OF FOUR (4) BELL MEDIA MUSIC VIDEO CHANNELS Stingray Press Release 2016-06-21
- "Stingray Acquires Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited, One of Canada's Leading Radio Broadcasters". Stingray. Retrieved 22 March 2019.