Digital Dealmakers

Bill Rinehart, CEO and Founder of Unicorn Media

The player: Bill Rinehart, CEO and founder of Unicorn Media

The play: Unicorn Media recently launched its media distribution platform that ingests, monetizes, manages, syndicates and distributes professionally produced content across the Web. “We are a technology provider that has a destination, but the destination is to syndicate content out from there,” Mr. Rinehart said.


The pitch: Unicorn Media is targeting musicians, bands and concert providers, as well as movie and television studios. The service is focused largely on longer-form content such as movies, TV shows, music videos and concerts. “We deal only with professionally produced content, no user-generated content,” Mr. Rinehart said. Unicorn Media’s tools are designed to offer artists a conduit to a “giant content library” they can distribute through the Unicorn Media player on MySpace, Facebook or other networks, he said.

In the mix: Among its competitors are online video technology firms like Brightcove and Move Networks, which also earn revenue by delivering premium video content for media companies. Mr. Rinehart said he’s positioning Unicorn Media as a cost-effective alternative that can reduce bandwidth delivery costs for large media companies by about 30% compared with industry average. Early customers include CBS Interactive, Revision3 and Imax.

The backstory: The company was founded in November 2007. “We want artists to be able to put their libraries online, simply, easily and with the least amount of expense, from the small band to the largest movie house in the world,” Mr. Rinehart said.

The money guys: Unicorn Media has raised $4.5 million in private investment. Mr. Rinehart wants to avoid venture capital. “The further we can get along without it, the better for everyone involved,” he said. Unicorn Media makes money via a revenue share of ads and from a license fee for its technology.

The pros: As consumers gravitate to higher-quality content online, technology firms that specialize in professional programming are well-positioned.

The cons: Unicorn Media is late to the game and will have a steep hill to climb winning customers from entrenched technology providers.

Background: Mr. Rinehart was born in Florida and raised in Wheaton, Ill. He studied business at Ball State University. He was the founding CEO of Limelight Networks, one of the leading content-delivery networks, with customers including Microsoft, Facebook and YouTube. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and child.

Who knew? Mr. Rinehart is an avid viewer of silent movies.


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