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Verizon Beefs Up TVE Unit

Alan Breznick
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Already a leader in the TV Everywhere space, Verizon is getting even more serious about the multiscreen video business.

The US telco announced Wednesday that Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS), its cloud-based video services unit, is buying upLynk for an undisclosed sum. A three-year-old startup based in Los Angeles, upLynx powers video streaming for the Watch ABC and Walt Disney TV Everywhere apps.

VDMS, formed recently by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), pitches a raft of capabilities to service and content providers looking to play in the multiscreen video space. The Verizon unit already offers "end-to-end video solutions" -- including content ingestion, transmission, management, hosting, and delivery -- for media publishers seeking to beam live, linear TV channels and on-demand video programming to TVs, tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. Its initial, in-house clients include Verizon FiOS and Redbox Instant by Verizon.

VDMS officials said the deal will add upLynk's exclusive technology for streamlining the uploading and encoding of multiscreen video to its portfolio. A cloud-based specialist, upLynk uses a single adaptive streaming format to encode and deliver video content to all devices, rather than multiple streaming formats. As a result, the company claims, it can simplify video encoding, storage, playback, ad insertion, and analytics and improve video workflows for providers.

"Simply put, this acquisition provides intelligent, scalable, and more flexible ways of streaming video for our customers," said VDMS President Bob Toohey in a prepared statement. All of upLynk's dozen or so employees are expected to join the Verizon division.

With the deal behind it, Verizon is also looking to expand its multiscreen horizons beyond its own video units and content providers. Chris Carey, chief product officer for VDMS, told Multichannel News that his operation is aiming to extend its services to cable operators and other service providers with TV Everywhere ambitions.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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User Rank: Blogger
11/19/2013 | 9:58:43 PM
Re: Laying low
That makes sense, Dan. But I'm still not sure even that many smaller cable operators would cast their lots with Verizon. The deals will have to be awfully seet, I thnk.  
User Rank: Blogger
11/17/2013 | 10:12:19 PM
Laying low
I remember hearing about this group, and thought they were laying low in part because there just wasn't that much TV Everywhere activity at the time. Seems like that is changing, so I get the timing of the deal on that basis. With cable operators as possible customers, I assume they muts eb talking about the small guys who can't do them any harm.
User Rank: Blogger
11/17/2013 | 6:13:51 PM
Re: Cable customers?
Yes, this unit has been flying under the radar for a while. Will be intersting to see what kind of a difference upLynk can make for them. You seem pretty dubious about their prospects. Any other reasons why?
User Rank: Light Sabre
11/15/2013 | 2:43:13 PM
Re: Cable customers?
Interesting that we haven't heard much about VDMS since 2011. Then the guy they brought in to run it left after a few years (Rips something?). Now they are spending 75 Million to save it with this 12 person start up? Must be some serious software and super star programmers. 
User Rank: Blogger
11/14/2013 | 5:34:27 PM
Cable customers?
So Verizon is hoping that its enhanced cloud and multiscreen capabilities will help it lure cable customers for its DMS unit. Is this realistic? Will cable operators actually turn to Verizon for video streaming help? That should be interesting to watch.
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