ENGLEWOOD, COLO. —
Broadcast is targeting TV everywhere with the acquisition of Imagine
Communications, a San Diego, Calif.-based company specializing in transcoding.
The value of the transaction was not disclosed.
“We needed adaptive bit-rate transcoding,” said Charlie Vogt, CEO of Harris
Broadcast. “It was in our roadmap, but we saw this market evolving faster than
we felt like we could introduce our own product. That’s what drove us to look
at the space.”
Vogt said the acquisition gives Harris Broadcast a bolder entrée into the cable
space. Imagine’s customers include Time Warner Cable, Cox and Suddenlink, among
“They take us deeper into cable, and into the telco market—AT&T, Verizon,
Vodaphone. They do give us this new vertical, and they give us a product that
our broadcast customers are buying from someone else,” he said.
The bigger picture is the path to multiplatform delivery, particularly with
adaptive bit-rate technology, said Glen LeBrun, Harris senior marketing
“I think real key is that in the ABR space, with TV everywhere, it’s about
providing linear experience across multiple platforms with bandwidth
constraints. Because it’s in a non-linear realm, you’re dealing with asset
management, digital rights, [etc.] You also have a different a structure. You don’t
run same ads on all platforms, so they’re dynamically inserted.”
Imagine holds five transcoding patents with one pending. Its “solutions” portfolio includes various MPEG-4 encoding and
transcoding applications. The product line includes broadcast and streaming
systems. The ICE Broadcast System, for example, is said to handle multiformat
transcoding for up to 16 HD channel and 32 SDs in a 1 RU footprint. The ICE
Streaming System is said to transcode up to “1,500 output profiles from a
single blade [server] platform.” The company’s Dense Transcoder is said to
cover more than 200 HD profiles per RU “and will replace an entire headend with
a single box.”
In addition to giving Harris more access to new markets, Imagine transcoding
will be integrated into Harris products. First will be the Selenio compression,
networking and processing gear, branded “Selenio Next.”
Vogt, a telecom IP veteran who took the helm of Harris Broadcast last July, has
made no bones about taking the business into the software realm. The Imagine
acquisition, he said, lays the foundation for “true software-defined
integration of sales, scheduling, automation, playout and delivery across both
linear and non-linear content distribution networks,” invoking a phenomenon not
entirely welcome in a business of proprietary hardware.
“When we see technology trends, we see customers virtualizing networks in
private and public data centers,” he said. “You’re truly building a
software-defined network. What this industry is going to experience faster than
they think is the adoption of IP as an underlying technology and a
SDNs, he said, put customer control at the network level as opposed to
confining it to a physical facility.
“We see this industry evolving to software-defined networks,” he said. “While
we have hardware, we’re mostly a software-embedded company.”
“I think there will be more change from SDN [in television] than there was in
the telecom industry,” he said. “I’ve met about 120 customers. There are not to
many meetings where they’re not discussing the aggressive transformation of the
business. I don’t think there are any companies as prepared as Harris.”
While Imagine’s transcoding is not yet offered as software-as-a-service, there are
applications of it that may be, Vogt said.
“They have a next-generation ABR chip, that from a price and performance
perspective, is above everyone else. You’ll see us move ABR to a more software-oriented platform, and to provide a next-generation DVR in the cloud,” for the
likes of perhaps Comcast or AT&T.
Imagine has around 50 employees, with headquarters in Southern California, and
R&D in Netanya, Israel, where it was founded in 2000. As of May, 2010, it
had secured $34 million in funding from Carmel Ventures of Herzliya, Israel;
Court Square Ventures of Charlottesville, Va.; and Columbia Capital of
Vogt said the integration of Imagine into Harris would commence immediately
upon closing, which is expected to occur around Jan. 1, 2014.
“You’re talking to someone who’s bought and sold 17 companies,” he said. “I am
not someone who leaves new companies on their own… There’s an aggressive plan
to integrate the company.”
The San Diego offices likely will be moved to “one of our centers of
excellence,” Vogt said. Further details will be released when the deal closes.
As for what’s on deck, Vogt stressed that Harris was still spending around $100
million on R&D.
“We’re pretty thoughtful about trying to grow organically. You’ll see us doing
more technology acquisition than otherwise. We have scale and we have
customers. The only place where we don’t have a footprint is telecom. Government
is also an interesting space.”
November 6, 2013
IP convergence and the cloud to be major themes for Harris Broadcast.
September 16, 2013,
Broadcast Scales Down Selenio, Greens Up Transmitters
Broadcast made its debut this year at IBC as a standalone vendor owned by
equity investors. The show also marked the inaugural annual trade show
appearance for Charlie Vogt, the former VoIP executive who took the reins of
Harris Broadcast in July.
CEO Brings in Ops and Sales Chiefs
Vogt taps investor and former colleague for executive rolls.
July 9, 2013,
Vogt Named CEO of Harris Broadcast
Vogt comes to Harris from Genband, a privately held company involved in
voice-over-IP based in Frisco, Texas with global operations and 1,700
July 3, 2013, “Harris
Morris is Out at Harris Broadcast
Harris Morris, CEO of Harris Broadcast, is leaving the company as of today, a
company source confirmed.
April 30, 2013,
Broadcast Repositions, Cuts Staff
Harris Broadcast is undergoing a post-acquisition realignment that includes
staff cuts and operational changes.
March 4, 2013, “Remembering
the Gates Radio Company
The Gores Group becomes just the third owner of one of the world’s major
broadcast suppliers, and in the process it inherits that company’s 90-year
December 7, 2012,
Broadcast to Be Rebranded in Next Three Years
The Harris Broadcast division will retain the Harris name for another three
years while it transitions to a new brand, division chief Harris Morris said
December 6, 2012,
Sells Broadcast Division to Equity Investor for $225 Million
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory review and closing
conditions and is expected to be completed in early calendar year 2013.
May 3, 2012,
Broadcast Divestiture—Some Corporate History
I thought it worth mentioning here, due to the critical role that Harris has
served as a major, if not dominant, player in the U.S. TV transmitter and
Mobile DTV areas.
May 1, 2012
Will Sells Its Broadcast Business
“The decision to divest Broadcast Communications resulted from a thorough
review of our business portfolio, which determined that the business is no
longer aligned with the company’s long-term strategy,” said Harris Corp.
president and CEO William M. Brown.