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Cable/Video

WarnerMedia closes deal for You.i TV

AT&T's WarnerMedia division is buying You.i TV, a Canadian tech startup specializing in software that powers apps and user interfaces for mobile and connected TV devices, a deal first reported by Light Reading earlier this month.

WarnerMedia made an official announcement late Monday that it had completed its acquisition of the privately owned You.i TV. No financial terms were disclosed.

Based in Ottawa, You.i TV should be a strategic technology match for AT&T and its WarnerMedia unit as they turn video streaming and other direct-to-consumer video services into core parts of their distribution and media businesses. Over the past few years, You.i TV has built a software engine/kit that enables partners to develop and deploy video apps for a wide array of devices – including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, gaming consoles, set-top boxes and connected-TV streaming devices – using a single codebase. You.i TV executives believe that a unified codebase helps developers overcome device fragmentation and speed app development cycles.

Neither WarnerMedia nor You.TV officials were available for discussion of the deal this morning. But, in a press release, WarnerMedia said You.i's Engine One technology will help it rapidly deploy its fledgling HBO Max streaming service to "a variety of platforms in markets worldwide." In 2021, the company plans to expand HBO Max into Latin America and upgrade HBO-branded streaming services in Europe to HBO Max.

"The You.i Engine One technology, and the development teams behind it, are best-in-class," Jason Press, WarnerMedia executive vice president of Direct-to-Consumer Technology & Program Management, said in a prepared statement. "The You.i platform will enhance the HBO Max technology stack, increase developer efficiency, and accelerate delivery as we bring HBO Max to consumer devices all around the world."

WarnerMedia and other AT&T units already rely on You.i TV technology to enable apps for AT&T TV Now, TNT, TBS, truTV, B/R Live, Rooster Teeth, DIRECTV GO in Latin America and WarnerMedia International, as well as the WarnerMedia RIDE in-car entertainment experience in tandem with AT&T and General Motors. WarnerMedia has also been an investor in You.i TV since 2016 and Press joined the firm's board of directors last year.

Founded in 2007, You.i TV now has more than 200 employees and has raised about $38.1 million, according to Crunchbase. Sky, which is now part of Comcast, is also a You.i TV investor.

While You.i TV doesn't disclose financials, the company was on track to achieve a $38 million annual run rate of revenue by Q4 2019, according to Needham & Company. Based on You.i TV's growth prospects, Needham & Company estimated then that You.i TV would generate more than $150 million in revenues by the end of 2021.

You.i TV has also enjoyed some success outside the AT&T/WarnerMedia universe, having worked with several pro sports teams in the NBA and NFL and Major League Baseball, A+E Networks and Australia's Network 10. It's not yet clear whether You.i TV will still pursue deals outside the AT&T/WarnerMedia universe or stay strictly in-house as Disney has done since taking a majority stake in BAM Tech three years ago.

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

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