Affiliate with a leading position in iGaming

Catena Media

Catena Media is a rapidly growing online lead generator. The company has historically focused on iGaming, but recently added a new vertical in the financial sector. Their vision is to be the world’s leading provider of value-creating online leads. The strategy focuses on organic growth, through geographical expansion for example, and acquisitions.



Muscle in the market and focus on acquisition

Catena Media’s principal business involves using net-based marketing techniques to attract users. The primary techniques are Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing, but other channels, including social media and emails, are also used. The company then aims to channel the leads to its customers, mainly iGaming operators. Towards that end, Catena Media owns and operates more than 3,000 specialised, multi-language websites focused on high-quality content. Some of the more well-known are AskGamblers, JohnSlots and RightCasino. Catena Media has a strong market position in the online casino segment and their offering in the online sports betting segment is growing by leaps and bounds. The business is run from Malta, with primary focus on regulated markets in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. The revenue model is built on two main variants: revenue sharing and CPA.

The group has successfully acquired several affiliate marketing firms in the past two years and has extensive experience integrating the acquired assets to maximise synergies and boost revenues. Acquisitions are considered a strong driver of further growth, and the board of directors believes Catena Media is in prime position to acquire additional affiliate marketers and benefit from greater economies of scale and future synergy effects.

Structural growth in the affiliate market 

Catena Media does business in the online casino market, which has delivered strong growth in recent years. Catena Media believes that demand for lead-generators and affiliates is going to increase in pace with the underlying online casino market. H2 Gambling Capital predicts an compounded annual growth rate of 9.4% from 2016 to 2020. Market growth is being driven mainly by the entry of new online casino operators and expansion of old brands into new markets. Along with established customers in existing markets, these operators are driving growth in the affiliate market by investing more heavily in digital marketing. The commercial Pay-Per-Performance (P4P) model offered by Catena Media is one of the fairest revenue models available to operators, where the performance marketing agency assumes considerable responsibility.

There are only a handful of firms in the fragmented affiliate market capable of generating a significant number of NDCs for operators. The strongest competitors are active in the same geographical markets as Catena Media, and there seems to be a persistent trend of launching new casino operators with primary focus on using the affiliate sales channel. This is giving Catena Media opportunities to expand geographically as these operators enter new markets, and to acquire other affiliates in a fragmented market.

New vertical in the financial sector

Catena opened the door to a new vertical in 2017 by acquiring BeyondBits Media, which operates in the financial sector. According to the company, the reasons Catena Media specifically chose to enter the financial sector are: a similar price structure to iGaming, high margins, regulatory clarity, market stability, geographical distribution compatible with current business, management expertise in the industry, customer demographics similar to iGaming and the ongoing offline-to-online transformation of the industry. Catena Media will be focusing primarily on the FX, equity and CFD markets. Compared to the iGaming industry, the lifetime value of each customer is three or four times higher in those markets, leading to a higher CPA attributable to Catena Media. The competition includes forexbrokers.com, stockbrokers.com, stocktrader.com, markets.com, investing.com, money.co.uk and brokerchooser.com.

Financial targets 2020

Catena Media is aiming to achieve EBITDA above EUR 100 million by 2020, driven by annual double-digit percentages for organic revenue growth and acquisitions. The debt target is in the range of 1.5-2.5x net debt/EBITDA, although the company has the latitude to step outside the range for limited periods. Moreover, cash flows generated over the next few years will be reinvested in the company, so no dividends will be distributed before 2020. Future acquisitions will be made exclusively in regulated markets, where the markets Catena Media is interested are the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Japan and Australia.

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