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Cable/Video

SeaChange's video biz takes hit as COVID-19-caused delays mount

Consumer streaming is on the rise during the pandemic, but vendors that provide video delivery infrastructure are feeling some heat as service providers set new near-term priorities and backburner some of their next-gen video deployment plans.

That scenario has slapped up against SeaChange, which announced Thursday that its business, alongside the entire video delivery technology industry, has been "meaningfully impacted" by COVID-19. That impact includes a slowdown in sales engagements as customers work from home and delay deployment decisions as they focus on remote network support and prioritize the need to bulk up on bandwidth and capacity for core broadband services.

SeaChange, which counts Liberty Global among its largest partners, said this has caused a number of potential customers to delay making final decisions on the deployment of Framework, its relatively new video delivery platform for traditional broadcast and OTT video that can be deployed on public cloud, on-premises and hybrid cloud infrastructures. Last month, SeaChange reported that about 55% of fiscal 2020 revenues were tied to Framework engagements.

In light of the current situation, SeaChange warned that revenue for its fiscal Q1 (ended April 30, 2020) will be lower than the year-ago period, and that is moving ahead on more cost-cutting measures that are in addition to previous moves that have resulted in more than $12 million in annual savings. SeaChange said it intends to provide fiscal 2021 guidance when it has more visibility into when it will return to a "more normal operating environment."

SeaChange isn't alone in its plight. Harmonic's video segment has also taken a hit recently as video equipment shipments and "high confidence" deals and projects planned for March were delayed because of operational disruptions fueled by the pandemic.

SeaChange believes the lull in demand is temporary, with deployments of Framework expected to pick up in the second half of its fiscal 2021. "Management believes a majority of the Company's customers have simply delayed making a final decision regarding their originally planned engagements, pending the return to a more normal operating environment," it said.

SeaChange shares were down almost 24% (57 cents) to $1.85 each in mid-day trading Friday.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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