With Apple rumoured to be developing a full-blown TV and connected TVs gradually taking off, it looks like video channels independent of the TV and cable industry could have a bright future, while niche content with global audiences could become attractive. To that end, BalconyTV, a quirky but popular YouTube channel and site which features up-and-coming music acts performing literally on balconies and rooftops, has taken off. Today it’s attracted its first institutional funding of $750,000 from Polaris Venture Partners, Lerer Ventures and Greycroft Partners. Former MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath will also join the global online music video channel in an advisory role. The startup has now moved into the Polaris-backed Dog Patch Labs accelerator based in Dublin.
BalconyTV’s history is unusual to say the least. It was founded by three Dublin-based friends – Stephen O’Regan, Tom Millett and Pauline Freeman – who started filming daily performances of new and up-and-coming artists from their apartment balcony. For whatever reason it captured the imagination of the YouTube community and now BalconyTV shows are produced in over 30 cities globally and the site has clocked up over 7,000 videos totalling over 30 million views. Artists that have performed include Mumford and Sons, The Script and Jessie J.
Peter Flint, partner at Polaris Venture Partners, says he sees Baltony TV representing an “international music diversity” which is hard to find elsewhere online. Flint, who spent 15 years in the cable television industry helping to launch cable tv networks, thinks there is an “opportunity to build video networks over broadband without the service providers as “gate keepers”.”
Stephen O’Regan, Co-Founder and CEO says the short term goal is to “build a truly great original music platform. I think we are in a unique position to do that. Ad revenue is one short term business model, but we can see a much bigger potential in the future that will come off the brand’s ability to grow.”