The video business makes for strange bedfellows.
Verizon Digital Media Services and thePlatform Inc. , a subsidiary of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), have announced a strategic alliance combining the former's video processing and distribution technology with the latter's cloud-based mpx video management system.
Touting the benefits of an integrated workflow, the two organizations say the new reseller agreement provides customers an end-to-end IP video solution that should help accelerate the launch of new multiscreen services. Two content companies have signed on for the joint offering already: Revolt TV, a music cable channel; and Bellator, a mixed martial arts league with online video assets.
thePlatform is well-established in the online video world with major customers that include Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and Fox Broadcasting Co. Meanwhile, some of Verizon's biggest customers for its Digital Media Services (DMS) division are the telco's own FiOS and Redbox Instant by Verizon video businesses. Verizon DMS also scooped up some significant customers at the end of 2013, however, when it acquired both EdgeCast for its content delivery network, and upLynk for its encoding services. The TV Everywhere apps for both Disney and ABC are now powered by Verizon DMS. (See Verizon Scoops Up CDN Provider.)
The deal between thePlatform and Verizon follows a similar reseller agreement signed by thePlatform and Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) in April, but, although there is overlap, Verizon and Adobe bring different assets and strengths to their respective partnerships: Verizon specializes in encoding technology and CDN services with DMS; Adobe, on the other hand, is focused on authentication systems, monetization, and video analytics. (See Adobe & thePlatform Tie TVE Knot.)
For thePlatform, Verizon's CDN services in particular are an important complement to the video publishing technologies that make up mpx.
As for the Verizon DMS business, chief product officer Chris Carey said in an interview that his company lacks a video storefront solution (another way of describing thePlatform's mpx system), and that he felt his company could partner effectively to gain the storefront and merchandising capabilities it currently lacks.
Carey acknowledged that Verizon may have had early aspirations to offer end-to-end video services with DMS, but he also said that the company's thinking has evolved. Carey believes that Verizon now has all of the core technology it needs for the DMS suite. The near future will be all about increasing capacity, and, for both Verizon and thePlatform, adding new customers.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading