Grass Valley buys automated playout provider

Recognizing that in order to stay competitive broadcasters must continue to add new channels, although with limited budgets, Grass Valley has acquired PubliTronic, a privately-held, global provider of multichannel integrated automated playout systems. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition positions Grass Valley to quickly offer an easy-to-implement system for adding new channels cost-effectively. Some call the category "channel in a box" — whereby master control operations such as channel branding and automated file playout are performed by a 1RU device — but Allain Andreoli, president and chief executive officer of Grass Valley,said the resulting K2 Edge server is "much more" than that.

Andreroli calls the new K2 Edge server, which is based on PubliTronic's technology, "a sophisticated and very powerful multichannel, integrated, automated playout system that delivers benefits to our customers from day one."

PubliTronic, based in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, was founded in 1997 and began developing integrated playout systems for the European market. Since then its systems have grown to address everything from small disaster recovery systems to managing the highly automated requirements of large multichannel service providers. PubliTronic said it has an installed base of more than 800 on-air channels in Europe and around the world.

Grass Valley's Andreoli said he sees an opportunity in this automated playout systems segment and actually targeted this area as part of a larger expansion strategy after Grass Valley was acquired by Francisco Partners earlier this year.

Buying a company like PubliTronic helps Grass Valley enter the category quickly with technology that has been proven in the field.

"As we learned more about PubliTronic's technology and people, it became very clear that a combination of our talents and resources could allow us to offer innovative and compelling products to our customers quickly," Andreoli said. He added that with the new K2 Edge server, total cost of ownership is reduced by streamlining the playout workflow, as each tool — server, graphics, master control and the automation system itself — is seamlessly integrated and designed to work together. Staffing and equipment costs are significantly reduced as well.

For PubliTronic, the acquisition means that it now has access to resources it didn't before.

"Together, our technologies can bring real cost and operational benefits to the industry on a large scale," said Harold Vermeulen, vice president, media playout solutions, Grass Valley, and founder and former managing director of PubliTronic.