SeaChange Wants to Make Waves
Still searching for ways to stay afloat financially, SeaChange has overhauled its product portfolio to offer a new cloud-based platform and a corresponding set of new software tools to control, manage and personalize video content for service and content providers of all stripes.
In particular, SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) is looking to make a big splash in the mobile video market, which has been building like a tidal wave over the past few years. The veteran video and advertising tech firm aims to capitalize on the surging growth of mobile video by enabling video providers to deliver comprehensive services to multiple screens quicker, cheaper and more efficiently than before.
In the process, SeaChange. which is now marking its 25th year in the business, is seeking to re-invent itself once again as a cutting-edge video tech player. All but left for dead in the water several times in the past, the company is seeking to take advantage of the streaming video boom to showcase its long-time video management prowess and latest cloud-based platform and tools.
"What we're trying to do is reposition ourselves and rebrand ourselves for a fresh new market," Kurt Michel, marketing vice president of SeaChange, said in an on-stage interview at the Streaming Media East conference in New York recently. "So I like to think of us as a pretty well-funded startup right now with great technology."
In fact, dreaming big, Michel envisions SeaChange turning into a later-day IBM or Microsoft of the video tech world, offering an "open 'PC-like' video platform" for service and content providers to leverage. Such an option, he contended, does not exist today.
Once the king of VoD hardware, SeaChange kicked off its latest rebranding drive in late May when it launched it new video management and delivery platform, PanoramiC. Aiming to be "a comprehensive cloud-based, end-to-end service" to "optimize and personalize the viewers' video experience," PanoramiC is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) product that supports video delivery to a wide group of operating systems and video devices, including Android TV, Android mobile, tvOS, iOS, smart TVs, set-top boxes and web browsers. The product features such baked-in capabilities as workflow, meta-data enrichment, authentication, session management, merchandising and use experience management. (See SeaChange Unveils Cloud-Based Multi-Screen Video Management Platform.)
"We're letting service providers put together something that's fully integrated," said Michel in an interview with Light Reading. "One of the things we have that most others don't is scalability."
In conjunction with PanoramiC, SeaChange also introduced a set of new video management software tools, called cFLOW (editor's note: plays off "SeaChange," get it?), for video management and personalization. The company says these software tools -- which include cContent for content management, cBridge for session management, cAds for advertising management and cView for viewer experience management -- can help video providers "create millions of "unique, individualized flows" of video content to multiple screens. (See SeaChange Launches cFlow Portfolio to Boost Video Personalization .)
"We do believe that personalized experiences are going to carry the day," said Michel, who joined SeaChange last October after holding senior marketing posts at IneoQuest Technologies Inc. , Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM) and other tech firms in the greater Boston area. "If you can't deliver a personalized experience, you are not going to be able to compete."
Now the big question is whether these new products will lift SeaChange's still-lagging fortunes. While the company boasts more than 200 service providers as customers and serves more than 50 million subscribers through its video platforms, it has struggled to find its financial footing for years and has not yet consistently generated profits. (See SeaChange Continues Downward Spiral and Samit Sacked as SeaChange Suffers.)
In its fiscal 2019 first quarter, which ended April 30, SeaChange reported a net loss of $5.5 million on $14.9 million in revenues, a slight deterioration from its $5.4 million net loss on revenues of $16.7 million a year earlier. The reversal came after the company broke into the black with a $13.5 million net profit on $80.3 million in revenues for fiscal 2018, thanks largely to a very strong fourth quarter. SeaChange officials expressed confidence, however, that the company will regain profitability later this year as some one-time costs are left behind.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading