AT&T to Buy Streaming Expert QuickPlay

QuickPlay already supports streaming video services from U-verse: With the acquisition, AT&T will control a key streaming vendor in advance of rolling out several new streaming services for DirecTV.

Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading

May 16, 2016

2 Min Read
AT&T to Buy Streaming Expert QuickPlay

In a further effort to bolster its video services capabilities, AT&T has agreed to terms to acquire QuickPlay, a company with a cloud-based streaming video system, for an undisclosed sum.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which has been relying on QuickPlay Media Inc. to deliver video for its U-verse service, will now be using the QuickPlay platform to deliver content for the three new DirecTV streaming video tiers it plans to debut in the fourth quarter.

AT&T is quickly exploiting the potential of its DirecTV acquisition by expanding streaming options and adding new ones. The company recently beefed up DirecTV's popular NFL Sunday Ticket package by adding streaming of out-of-market games. (See AT&T Delivers Streaming Access for DirectTV NFL Sunday Ticket.)

In March, AT&T announced three streaming services for DirecTV: DirecTV Now, DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview. The Now package will include most of the content that DirecTV currently provides. The Mobile package will deliver content to mobile devices.

Preview will be a free, ad-supported service, providing access to a limited selection of DirecTV content, available to anyone with a wired or wireless Internet connection. It will "showcase content from AT&T's Audience Network, many networks and other content sources, and millennial-focused video from Otter Media, a joint venture of AT&T and The Chernin Group," AT&T explained.

Want to know more about the latest developments in the video services business? Check out our dedicated video channel here on Light Reading.

QuickPlay, based in Toronto, is controlled by Madison Dearborn Partners , which bought nearly a full interest in the company from other investment firms in 2012 for $100 million. Earlier this year, Quickplay raised another $57 million from Madison Dearborn, Orix Ventures and Difference Capital Financial.

None of the companies involved in the sale said how much AT&T is paying for the company.

Quickplay was the company that bought the FLO TV operations from Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) in 2012. While the FLO TV endeavor failed, QuickPlay picked up state-of-the-art operations centers and some expertise.

Earlier this year, QuickPlay bought Roundbox Inc. , a company with expertise in optimizing delivery of video over mobile networks, "using multicast (one-to-many), and unicast (one-to-one) technologies that leverage 4G LTE Broadcast -- eMBMS, WiFi, 3G, and 4G to launch new services -- or enhance existing services -- with dramatically improved economics and scale," as the company announced at the time.

That purchase seems to have been done in support of services precisely like DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview.

QuickPlay's client roster has included AT&T U-verse; Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ); Bell; Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI); Samsung; and recently HOOQ, a joint venture between SingTel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. Entertainment operating an over-the-top service in Asia.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Brian Santo

Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading

Santo joined Light Reading on September 14, 2015, with a mission to turn the test & measurement and components sectors upside down and then see what falls out, photograph the debris and then write about it in a manner befitting his vast experience. That experience includes more than nine years at video and broadband industry publication CED, where he was editor-in-chief until May 2015. He previously worked as an analyst at SNL Kagan, as Technology Editor of Cable World and held various editorial roles at Electronic Engineering Times, IEEE Spectrum and Electronic News. Santo has also made and sold bedroom furniture, which is not directly relevant to his role at Light Reading but which has already earned him the nickname 'Cribmaster.'

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