Lexington-based iHigh, the leading youth digital television platform and online network, today announced it received $11.7M in funding from Cox Media Group, an integrated traditional and digital media and direct marketing company.
This investment will fuel the company’s product development and corporate expansion as demand for iHigh’s digital television platform and online network continues to grow throughout U.S. markets. In making this investment, Cox Media Group acquired a strong minority interest in the company, currently valued at nearly $60M.
iHigh provides free Web-based tools and live video streaming capabilities that enable organizations to connect to their audiences by broadcasting live content on the Internet to PCs, smartphones, tablets, and any other Internet-connected device. Developed initially to support high school athletics and having spread to colleges and other affinity groups, iHigh enables students, coaches, boosters and other school supporters to easily connect with parents, their communities and local and national advertisers, anywhere and at any time.
“This strategic investment in iHigh is a long-term opportunity for Cox Media Group, and aligns with our mission of creating scalable content and advertising services businesses,” said Doug Franklin, president, Cox Media Group. “We believe iHigh’s solutions – giving audiences the ability to watch any event live over desktops, tablets or smartphones – are uniquely designed to help organizations reach a devoted and distributed fan base, while giving advertisers a highly targeted and hyper-local approach to reaching their customers. We’re looking forward to growing with iHigh, reaching new markets and expanding opportunities for dedicated fans and advertisers alike.”
iHigh’s online broadcast method is provided to high schools and other organizations free of charge. With more than 8,000 organizations using any of iHigh’s unique website templates, local high schools and youth groups, as well as national organizations such as USA Swimming, USA Wrestling, and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), have built custom websites dedicated to reaching their audiences with features including live broadcasting, news and photos. iHigh is currently operating in all 50 states, seven countries including Canada and Puerto Rico, and reaching more than 11 million annual unique visitors, including 20 percent of all traffic coming from mobile devices.
“High school and college sports and events bring families and communities together, and iHigh is the best way to make sure no one misses a game ever again,” said Jim Host, chairman and CEO of iHigh. “While we developed iHigh to highlight high school sports, we believe this to be the best platform for any devoted affinity group to share in a live event. We’re expanding iHigh’s reach into new markets, and having Cox Media Group as a partner and investor will help bring iHigh to communities and all affinity groups across the country.”
Produce Worldwide Broadcast on a Laptop iHigh’s proprietary virtual Production TruckSM software enables anyone with a camera, laptop and Internet connection to produce a live digital broadcast. The production software is free and easy to use, and replaces the 18-wheeler production truck typically found outside large sporting events. Users can toggle among up to four cameras to deliver the best angle, and can insert professional-grade graphics including team or organization logos, scores, statistics, and advertisements. iHigh’s patent-pending Production Truck delivers premium-quality content that can be viewed live, or archived for viewing later.
Hyper-local Advertising on a National Scale To supplement budget shortfalls among all organizations, iHigh empowers high school and college athletics departments and other organizations with a highly-targeted revenue-generating advertising vehicle. iHigh provides a tool for local and national advertisers to reach consumers at a hyper-local level. During breaks in the broadcast, local producers using the iHigh platform can play television-quality commercials with its patent-pending AdTriggerSM technology, insert company logos to sponsor broadcast segments, and more. Local advertisers can target the community with local deals, and national advertisers can target specific groups, such as swimming or wrestling fanatics.
Kentucky Benefits from iHigh’s Success The growth of iHigh has been a boon to the Kentucky tech market. Gov. Steve Beshear remarked, “iHigh is a prime example of the entrepreneurial spirit we strive for in Kentucky. Our university system continues to produce some of the nation’s great thinkers, and I’m proud they’re staying in our state and putting Lexington even more on the map.”
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray added, “Lexington is so proud to be home to iHigh, as the company brings extraordinary new opportunities to high school athletes and athletic programs nationwide. And just as important, this announcement brings technology and media jobs, venture capital, and international attention to Lexington as a center for business innovation and creative thinking. This is exactly what a Great American City is all about."
About iHigh Based in Lexington, iHigh is the nation’s leading youth digital television platform and online network. It provides free Web-based services to schools, students and other youth organizations around the world to post live television-quality video, stories, photos, video clips, news, schedules and other information to a unique online channel. Each of iHigh’s more than 8,000 organizations across seven countries can generate revenue through video advertisements and sales of merchandise on its iHigh website at no cost to the institution. For more information, visit www.ihigh.com.
About Cox Media Group
Cox Media Group (CMG) is an integrated broadcasting, publishing, direct marketing and digital media company that includes the national advertising rep firms of Cox Reps. Additionally, CMG owns and operates Valpak, one of North America’s leading direct marketing companies. With $1.7 billion in revenue, the company operations include 15 broadcast television stations and one local cable channel, 86 radio stations, eight daily newspapers and more than a dozen non-daily publications, and more than 100 digital services. CMG operates in more than 30 media markets and reaches approximately 52 million Americans weekly, including 30 million TV viewers, more than 4 million print and online newspaper readers, and 18 million radio listeners. For more information about Cox Media Group, please check us out online at www.coxmediagroup.com.