Ericsson has made a commitment to the fully managed production and playout services sector with its proposed acquisition of Red Bee Media, a UK-based media services company, from a private equity firm called Macquarie Advanced Investment Partners, L.P. No financial details were provided.
Since it was founded in 2005, Red Bee Media has grown to become a diverse business with customers around the world. It provides a range of media services; from media asset management to playout and digital video publishing, metadata services, multilingual access services and creative services to major broadcasters and broadband platforms. Red Bee Media, which is known for its high-quality playout services, is also the largest editorial metadata provider in Europe, delivers more than 100,000 hours of subtitling per year for leading broadcasters.
Ericsson said the move strengthens its broadcast services business, which was started in 2007 and expanded in 2012 with the acquisition of Technicolor's Broadcast Services Division. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, released in June, video is the single biggest contributor to traffic in mobile networks, and this is expected to grow 60 percent annually until the end of 2018. Ericsson is looking to capitalize on that.
“We can create value for broadcasters by making digital content more accessible, enabling monetization of TV content more efficiently,” Magnus Mandersson, executive vice president and Head of Business Unit Global Services, Ericsson, said. “Video traffic shows very strong uptake in the mobile networks, and Ericsson can address the need of both broadcasters and telecom operators through our technology expertise and services capabilities.”
Once the deal is complete (the closing of the acquisition is subject to approval from relevant regulatory authorities and other contractual conditions), Red Bee Media will be incorporated into Ericsson’s Business Unit Global Services. The group within Ericsson will now grow to 1500 production and post employees that support a wide range of media services and operations facilities in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Australia.
With 1240 of Red Bee Media employees being based in the UK, Ericsson's UK business alone will now consist of roughly 4000 employees, and with more than one-third working in the media services business, the UK will become a global media hub for Ericsson.