DramaFever gets backed by Bertelsmann, AMC & NALA

DramaFever, the New York-based online video service for foreign TV dramas, is adding more high-profile backers to its latest funding round: Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, cable network AMC and Nala Investments are joining a Series B round officially announced in March, which now totals $6 million in funding. DramaFever c0-founder and CEO Seung Bak told me during a recent interview that these additional investors, announced Monday, were picked to help DramaFever with its international expansion. “We are building a global TV platform,” he said.
DramaFever is an interesting service because it proves that niches are working online. The company has been bringing Korean dramas to U.S. and Canadian audiences, offering users the option to either watch ad-supported shows for free or subscribe to an ad-free version. DramaFever has also been supplying Korean dramas to sites like Hulu.com, and it’s been successful at bringing this type of content to new audiences. Seventy-five percent of the service’s viewers are not Asian, Bak told me during an earlier interview.
The company now wants to use the new influx of money to venture both into new types of content as well as new markets. On top of Bak’s list are telenovelas, which he sees as a natural fit for the company’s focus on TV dramas. And for that type of content, NALA is a great partner: the investment company is headed by Emilio Diez Barroso, whose family owns Televisa. But Bak told me that Bollywood, K-Pop and even TV shows from Turkey have a lot of potential as well.
Geographically, Europe is one of DramaFever’s next targets, with an expansion possibly coming before the end of this year. “Today, we are a North America-focused business,” explained Bak. “As we go into Europe, Bertelsmann is a great partner.”
DramaFever originally announced its Series B round of funding for $4.5 million in March. The round led by MK Capital also includes money from YouTube (s GOOG) co-founder Steve Chen and Google product management director Benjamin Ling. Additional new investors include Machinima co-founder and CEO Allen DeBevoise and Lowermybills.com founder and CEO Matt Coffin. And if that wasn’t enough name-dropping already, former Fox Television Entertainment Group (s NWS) Chairman Sandy Grushow just joined the company as an advisor as well.
Check out my previous interview with DramaFever CEO Seung Bak below: