Continuing its evolution from a traditional video-on-demand hardware supplier to a next-gen video software specialist, SeaChange is counting on Timeline Labs being a very timely acquisition for the company.
In a webcast interview with Light Reading Founder & CEO Stephen Saunders Wednesday afternoon, new SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) CEO Jay Samit made that abundantly clear. He said his company is seeking to leverage the data analytics capabilities gained from its purchase of Timeline Labs, a social media analytics specialist, in a deal that closed shortly before the interview took place. (See SeaChange Completes Timeline Labs Acquisition and CEO to CEO: Jay Samit, CEO, SeaChange.)
Samit told Saunders that SeaChange plans to integrate Timeline very tightly into a package with the parent firm's other software-based services for cable operators, telcos, content providers and other video players. California-based Timeline, which specializes in helping media companies stay abreast of social trends and keep close tabs on audience engagement, will become part of SeaChange's 30-person professional services group.
Explaining Timeline's appeal for SeaChange, Samit said Timeline's software uses a natural language algorithm to gauge consumer sentiment, enabling the company to capture what people discuss on social media locally. He said it relies on such differentiating characteristics as age and zip code to pull stories, images and graphics to "satisfy the demand of that audience." For example, he said, when rock musician Joe Cocker died, the software could alert viewers that he was best known for the soundtrack to An Officer and A Gentleman, which would be available for viewing on pay-per-view that night.
Service providers are increasingly "more nuanced and intelligent relative to costs" these days, Samit said. With providers hunting for opportunities to monetize their investments, "we're doing the hard listening behind the scenes to make that possible."
SeaChange's completion of the Timeline deal came just a day or two after the company announced the latest in a series of staff layoffs as it continues to streamline operations and shift its focus exclusively to multiscreen and over-the-top video software products. In the most recent cost-cutting move, SeaChange reduced its global workforce by 10%, or about 70 people, to slash its annualized costs by $11 million. Samit did not address those cuts in his talk with Saunders. (See SeaChange Cuts Staff Again.)
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading