Friday, August 27, 2010

Cisco Extends Its Reach, Acquires ExtendMedia for Global Video Domination and TV Everywhere

Yesterday, Cisco Systems Inc. announced further expansion of its global video M&A strategy with its intent to acquire ExtendMedia Inc., to power its multi-screen delivery and "TV Everywhere" services. While financial terms of the transaction are undisclosed, Streaming Media EVP, Dan Rayburn estimates the the deal at $80 million which is expected to be complete in the first half of Cisco's fiscal year 2011. The Extend Media purchase will up Cisco's ability to grab a larger stake in the set-top business and IP-based video services.

Founded in 1991, the privately-held Boston, Massachusetts-based company specialized in video content management and monetization. It's closet competitor is thePlatform, which is owned by Comcast. ExtendMedia's main product is OpenCASE, a carrier-grade "TV Everywhere" platform for managing, publishing and monetizing video across PCs, televisions and mobile devices as well as game platforms, set-top boxes, and WiFi-enabled HDTVs. The majority of its employee base in Toronto, Canada, and will be integrated into Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group.

Cisco's Enrique Rodriguez, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group explained the benefits of this deal:
 "ExtendMedia will strengthen Cisco's position in the delivery of IP video services by enabling service providers to provide a more interactive and personal experience and to optimize quality for consumer viewing devices."
Extend Media outlined the reasons for Cisco's acquistion in this FAQ:
Q. Why is Cisco acquiring ExtendMedia?
A: Cisco chose ExtendMedia because it has demonstrated success with key Tier-1 Service Providers. ExtendMedia brings a strong software team that understands the complexities of delivering multi-screen video over IP networks. Cisco has developed a successful working relationship with ExtendMedia over the past 2 years, and expects seamless integration with existing engineering teams. With expertise in both IP networks and video infrastructure, Cisco can enable Service Providers to offer a more interactive and personal experience and optimize delivery and quality for the viewing device.

Jeff Baungartner of Light Reading Cable provided some context to the deal within the overall market of multi-screen delivery:
"The deal arrives as operators such as Comcast Corp., Verizon Communications Inc., and Dish Network Corp. ramp up their TV Everywhere services, and cable operators begin to pursue IP video strategies. (Dish: TV Everywhere Site Is Portal to Growth.)
The acquisition would put Cisco in more direct competition with a range of publishers that have TVE aspirations, including Brightcove Inc., Limelight Networks Inc., which recently expanded into the game with its purchase of Delve Networks; and Comcast-owned thePlatform Inc. (Limelight Takes Aim at thePlatform, Brightcove.)"

While Cisco's press release didn't mention TV Everywhere, there is big money to be had in it over the next few years. Extend Media has been discussing how the television industry is being remade with the rise of the "The Virtual MSO" (”MSO” or “Multiple System Operator” is the industry term for a cable operator, like Comcast), as Janko Roettgers pointed out in his post Cisco’s ExtendMedia Purchase: TV Everywhere And Beyond:
"TV Everywhere was the industry’s favorite buzz word last year, and a number of operators as well as cable networks from Comcast to HBO have rolled out dedicated offerings since, but consumers have yet to jump onto these services en masse. However, it looks like ExtendMedia’s vision of TV Everywhere goes far beyond what’s being offered today."
Over the last several years, Cisco has been building its video empire with a focus on video collaboration, content creation and management, with the purchase of the Pure Digital, makers of popular Flip Video Camera, and videoconferencing vendor Tandberg, who it competed with in the TelePresence market.

According to Cisco, the Pure Digital acquisition exemplified its "build, buy and partner" strategy to move quickly into new markets and capture key market transitions. Working in many cases as a virtual company Cisco brokers services and white labels platforms that it hasn't yet acquired. At the time of the Tandberg deal which was a $3 billion purchase, New York Times' Ashlee Vance highlighted Cisco's recent M&A activity highlighted Cisco's recent M&A activity:
"In recent years, Cisco, based in San Jose, Calif., has been one of the technology industry’s most aggressive companies when it comes to acquisitions. It has bought close to 40 companies in the last five years, including the $6.9 billion purchase of the set-top box maker Scientific Atlanta and the $2.9 billion purchase of the Web meeting software maker WebEx. This year, Cisco bought Pure Digital, which makes the popular Flip video camera for consumers, for $590 million."
Several years earlier, Cisco also acquired web conferencing platform WebEx, a desktop collaboration standard for many companies and core to Cisco's unified communications experience. There's also speculation that Cisco will expand into the booming virtual event platform its own product for managing large scale virtual events. Over this past year, Cisco acquisitions have included smart grid company Grid Net, design consultancy Moto Development Group, and digital signal processing company Core Optics. See: List of acquisitions by Cisco Systems - Wikipedia for more information.

In this video Charles Carmel, VP Corporate Development, discusses major Cisco acquisitions and investments in FY2010 in relation to its "build, buy and partner" strategy:

Unlike Comcast that now own a stake of NBC, Cisco has yet to buy a content company and stayed primarily within the media and host network layers. But as the video industry and digital media space furthers consolidates, who's to say they won't?

About Cisco Systems
Cisco, (NASDAQ: CSCO), the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, this year celebrates 25 years of technology innovation, operational excellence and corporate social responsibility. Information about Cisco can be found at For ongoing news, go to

About ExtendMedia:
ExtendMedia is the leading independent provider of enterprise-class, multi-screen video software and solutions that help content owners and distributors build and deploy video services. Extend's flagship product, OpenCASE, manages video content across the lifecycle from ingest to monetization and across IPTV, web and mobile services in both ad-supported and pay media business models. Headquartered in Boston, Mass., ExtendMedia powers initiatives for innovative communications, media and consumer electronics companies including AT&T, Bell Canada, Hewlett-Packard, Mitsubishi/UB Cross, SanDisk and Thales. For more information, visit

Update 8/28/2010: Added YouTube - Charles Carmel discusses major Cisco acquisitions and investments in FY2010 and additional Cisco 2010 M&A information