Company Appoints Rogers and Ratner as Co-Chairmen of WinView’s Board
WinView Inc. (www.winviewgames.com), the pioneer of synchronized two-screen TV and creators of live television sports play-along experience WinView Games, today announced it closed a $3.4 million Series A round of equity financing led by cable television and next-gen TV pioneer Tom Rogers, and media, entertainment and sports veteran Hank Ratner. Tom Rogers is currently Chairman of the Board of TiVo, Inc. having served as its CEO for almost 11 years. Hank Ratner is Vice Chairman of Cablevision Systems Corp. and former CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company. As part of the investment, the Company appointed Mr. Rogers and Mr. Ratner as Co-Chairmen of the WinView Board of Directors. Together, their combined backgrounds in next-gen TV and sports media provide the right expertise to actively weave WinView into the broader sports and media ecosystem. The investment brings WinView’s total funding to date to $6.5 million.
The WinView Games app brings together the worlds of live TV sports, mobile apps, gaming, and interactive advertising so that casual sports fans and dedicated second-screen fantasy players can enjoy sports on TV in a new way by having more fun and interacting with their favorite teams, and with each other. The proceeds of the investment will be used to complete development and launch the WinView Games app coinciding with the 2016 professional football season. WinView allows users to play along in real time with live televised sports in order to compete and win prizes based on an advertising supported business model. All of the games WinView covers are produced in a live studio environment by game producers based on what is happening in real time on the playing field. TV viewers can demonstrate their knowledge of sports and enjoy the experience of forming teams and leagues to compete, enabling friends to play each other, and even parents to play against their kids. Because the WinView app taps into what has become commonplace TV viewing behavior of engaging with a mobile device while watching the big screen, viewers are more likely to remain engaged in the TV broadcast throughout the entire live game.
The Company stated that in-play gaming on mobile while watching live TV sports is already a multi-billion-dollar industry in Europe. WinView’s mobile game sports app is built by European firm Ex Machina Group (www.exmachinagroup.tv) and is based on their fully developed PlayToTV platform, which has been used by multiple hit reality and entertainment TV programs around the world with millions of simultaneous users.
During the 2015 – 2016 football season, WinView successfully beta tested its app, which validated the Company’s business strategy, market potential and patented technology reliability. WinView’s U.S. target audience for its advertiser-supported app includes 57 million sports fantasy league players and 200 million TV sports viewing fan base. In addition, WinView has a portfolio of 26 foundational patents that cover the synchronization of the second-screen with TV broadcasts and commercials, as well as patents that cover the optimum methods to monetize sports-based games of skill.
WinView founder and CEO Dave Lockton said, “Completion of this financing led by industry notables Tom Rogers and Hank Ratner will help drive the development and growth of WinView Games. As Co-Chairs, our board leadership now includes a cable, media and interactive TV pioneer in Tom paired with a leader in sports, entertainment, live events and media in Hank. Tom’s background includes creating substantial franchises that deal with data and information on the screen, having been the founder of CNBC and at TiVo, where he won Emmy awards for delivering deeply engaging interactive experiences. Hank has a unique history in sports, entertainment, live events and media, including having been CEO of Madison Square Garden, as well as having served as a board member of NBA and NHL leagues. Tom and Hank have also worked together in the past, creating the first national network of regional sports channels. We are delighted they are taking an active role at WinView, and we look forward to working with them to help bring this huge new innovation to sports TV this fall.”
Mr. Lockton added, “Live sports is premium programming with a massive captive audience, and it is one of the last bastions to engage millennials. Technology and market conditions are now converging and giving rise to position our app, which is uniquely synchronized with live TV, to be a huge mobile engagement and revenue generation opportunity for the networks, leagues and advertisers involved, especially those seeking the coveted young adult male audience. WinView will be a premium gateway for advertisers to access viewers on the second screen. Our leadership now has the right mix of experience and expertise in interactive TV along with a portfolio of 26 patents that cover the synchronization of the second-screen with TV broadcasts and advertisements, all of which combine to position us at the forefront of the next-gen TV viewing experience.”
Mr. Rogers said, “Playing along on a second screen while watching TV sports live is all the rage in Europe, having reduced fantasy sports to also-ran status. Millions of people in the U.S. are already using a second screen, checking stats while they watch, which has set the stage for this next big leap in sports television, enabling the viewer, unlike fantasy, to play along in real time with the live game itself. WinView has deep intellectual property for two screen live play along on TV. Dave Lockton has pioneered synchronizing a second screen to live TV so that all of WinView’s contests are credible and real prizes of value can be awarded. Equally compelling, WinView’s ad-supported business model requires no payment necessary to play, but yet has as well all the necessary technology and IP for purposes of games of skill where viewers could pay to enter to win even bigger prizes. This combination of a great new experience for the TV viewer, and a great new avenue of growth for the media business, is the biggest venture upside Hank and I have seen in the TV space in years.”
Added Mr. Rogers, “For the millions of fantasy players, once the live action starts, they are locked out, and there is no way to enjoy competing based on the live action itself, until now. It’s remarkable that it has taken this long for mobile technology in the U.S. to catch up with the innate consumer desire to play along as a live game unfolds by predicting what will happen.”
Mr. Ratner said, “Both Tom and I were involved with Dave when he pioneered the second screen play-along with TV programming category at his earlier company, Interactive Network. Now, with our involvement combined with our relationships with all the constituents in the sports television industry, including the leagues and networks, the stage is set for WinView to take off and scale this fall by tapping into sports fans’ inherent desire to engage with this next-generation TV sports entertainment experience.”
Added Mr. Ratner, “We believe there is enormous potential and scale with the WinView mobile games platform, and we look forward to working on behalf of WinView to help establish WinView Games as the industry standard for two-screen synchronization based on its many patents and well tested approach.”
The Company also announced that the WinView board will be expanded to include investors Steve Goodroe, former Vice President Global Customer Marketing of Procter & Gamble and CEO of Dunnhumby USA, and Bryan Jacoboski, Managing Partner of Abingdon Capital Management. In addition, John Costello, President Global Marketing and Innovation of Dunkin Brands, Inc. and Global Chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association, is joining the Advisory Board.
About Tom Rogers
Tom Rogers is the Chairman of TiVo. He was President and CEO of TiVo, a leader in the advanced television entertainment market through January 2016. With a career that has operated at the nexus of media, technology, advertising and public policy for more than two decades, Mr. Rogers has a distinctive blend of operational leadership and corporate strategy experience across multiple facets of the industry. With vast experience in running traditional media and new media companies, and in creating innovative business models for companies facing new challenges, he has pioneered the way consumers watch and access home entertainment.
Prior to TiVo, Mr. Rogers was Chairman and CEO of PRIMEDIA, Inc., which then was the leading targeted media company in the U.S. Prior to joining PRIMEDIA, he was President of NBC Cable and Executive Vice President of NBC, as well as NBC’s chief strategist. Among his many accomplishments, he founded CNBC, the nation’s leading business news channel and established the NBC/Microsoft cable channel and Internet joint venture, MSNBC.
Prior to NBC, Mr. Rogers was Senior Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Telecommunications, Consumer Protection and Finance Subcommittee, where he was responsible for drafting a number of communications laws, including the Cable Act of 1984, as well as overseeing the FCC. He began his career as an attorney with a Wall Street law firm.
Mr. Rogers was inducted as a member of the Cable Center Cable Hall of Fame in May 2016 and the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in October 2013.
About Hank Ratner
Hank Ratner has been a leading media, sports, entertainment and telecommunications executive throughout his career, serving in various executive positions including President and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, Vice Chairman of Cablevision Systems Corporation and Chief Operating Officer of AMC Networks (formerly Rainbow Media).
An executive with Cablevision for nearly 30 years, Mr. Ratner helped set corporate direction and oversee major business partnerships and negotiations. During his tenure, he helped guide Cablevision through several strategic transactions, including the spin-offs of The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) in 2010 and AMC Networks in 2011, both now standalone, public companies.
From 2009 to 2014, Mr. Ratner served as President and CEO of MSG where he directed the overall strategy and day-to-day operations of the business. His leadership included involvement with television networks, live events, professional sports teams and real estate development with the transformation of Madison Square Garden to maintain and enhance its status as the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena.” Prior to Cablevision, Mr. Ratner spent nearly 15 years at AMC Networks where he served in various positions, including COO and leading the executive management team directing AMC, IFC, Bravo, WE tv, 10 regional sports networks, two national sports networks, five News 12 regional news networks, Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation, among others.
Prior to working in the media, entertainment and telecommunications industries, he was an associate with the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell.
Mr. Ratner is on the board of Madison Square Garden Networks and was the driving force behind the creation of The Garden of Dreams Foundation, the nonprofit that works closely with all areas of MSG and MSG Networks to positively impact the lives of children facing obstacles.
About WinView Inc.
WinView, Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based company that is focused on free mobile two-screen synchronized televised sports games for prizes in the U.S. The Company plans to leverage its extensive experience in pioneering real-time interactive television games played on the mobile second screen, its foundational patents and unique business model. The WinView app is an end-to-end two-screen TV synchronization platform for both television programming and commercials. The free WinView Games app uniquely enhances TV viewing enjoyment and rewards sports fans with prizes as they answer in-game questions while competing with friends in real-time during live televised sports. These free games of skill are legal in every state. For more information, please visit www.winviewgames.com.
About WinView Inc.’s Intellectual Property
WinView’s portfolio of 26 foundational patents covers the synchronization of the second-screen with TV broadcasts and commercials and the optimum methods of monetizing sports-based games of skill, among other types of programming content. The WinView platform and its foundational patents permit it to provide sponsors and advertisers with exclusive access to all the two-screen game participants through sponsorship of the game, in-game videos and incentivized interactive commercials in sports telecasts. The Company plans to expand its service in partnership with the TV and cellular industries, leveraging its intellectual property to establish a two-screen synchronization standard across the entire TV broadcast and cellular networks, which are industries that rely upon standards to function efficiently at scale.
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