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Sky Bets $7m on Whistle Sports Being Sky Sports for Youngsters

By Matt Hill on at

When British Sky Broadcasting isn't tweaking its Sky Go offering within an inch of its life, the digital TV firm appears to be investing feverishly in startups. Remember the artist formerly known as Zeebox?

But Whistle Sports, the US YouTube sports broadcaster, is the most eye-raising incumbent of this cash-money splurge, with some $7 million more than it had yesterday (that's £4.3 million, since you asked).

So what is it getting itself into? Well, Whistle Sports already has more than 16,000 videos on its books across 195 channels going out to eight million subscribers. In the US it has an app on the Xbox 360 and is soon coming to Roku (in which Sky is also an investor), while partnerships are in place with the NFL, PGA and other important abbreviations, plus individual athletes, too. It's pretty much the Sky Sports of YouTube.

Importantly, though, it's watched by younger sport fans, or "young millennials" as Sky puts it. See, while the standard Sky package's rather pricey cost means it's typically for families in front of big tellies or older viewers sitting on piles of cash, there's a whole swathe of smartphone-slinging, young telly-watching types currently priced out and instead streaming and pirating till their hearts' content.

The on-the-move Sky Go app and cheaper Now TV diffusion box were the first steps to addressing this, but Sky appears to be placing bets all over the place. Having already backed ad-tech firm Sharethrough and online video platform Pluto this month, we wonder who's next – and, most importantly, what that will mean for our streaming options? [Techcrunch]