NEW YORK and ONTARIO—IMAX Corporation has announced that it has acquired SSIMWAVE Inc., a provider of AI-driven video quality solutions for media and entertainment companies.
The deal marks a significant expansion of IMAX’s strategy to deliver the highest quality video images on any screen and buildings on IMAX Enhanced, which brings The IMAX Experience to streaming entertainment.
Under the terms of agreement, IMAX acquired SSIMWAVE for $18.5 million in cash and $2.5 million in stock with additional earnout consideration of $4 million, subject to achieving certain operating performance and financial objectives.
“SSIMWAVE is doing revolutionary work at the intersection of human visual perception and image enhancement technology. By putting the power of our global brand behind their award-winning engineering team and product suite, IMAX takes a big step toward a new horizon in our ability to deliver the best images for any creator, across every screen,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. “In the near-term, SSIMWAVE brings to IMAX new, SaaS-based revenue and a world-class client roster that tightly aligns with some of our strongest, most successful content partnerships.”
IMAX said that it will work with SSIMWAVE in the near term to further grow its business and product suite, including international expansion.
Longer-term, IMAX’s technology and post-production teams will work with SSIMWAVE’s engineering team to develop new solutions for delivering IMAX-quality video experiences across platforms, around the world, the companies said.
The acquisition is part of IMAX’s strategy of delivering more cross-platform content. Currently it offers IMAX Enhanced, which brings The IMAX Experience to streaming entertainment with IMAX-exclusive expanded aspect ratio, digitally remastered content, and signature sound.
More than 200 IMAX Enhanced titles are available across streaming platforms worldwide, including Disney+, and more than 10 million IMAX Enhanced certified devices are in the market today.
Through its patented, two-time Emmy Award winning technology, Ontario-based SSIMWAVE enables streaming and broadcast providers to deliver the best possible image on any device for on-demand and live video, the companies said.
Four of the world’s top-ten streaming media companies currently partner with SSIMWAVE to optimize video, including Disney, Paramount Global, and Warner Bros. Discovery.
Its 30-person engineering team has mapped the human visual system to produce one of the most accurate measures of perceptual quality, which its AI-driven software applies to enhance video streams and files in real time.
IMAX reported that it expects the acquisition to be accretive in 2023 and have minimal financial impact in 2022.
“Viewers and content creators expect more from video experiences. By joining IMAX, SSIMWAVE will be even better positioned to preserve creators’ intent and enable engaging, differentiated viewing experiences to millions of users across platforms,” said Dr. Abdul Rehman, CEO and co-founder of SSIMWAVE. “We’re excited to join IMAX and tap into its global scale and expertise as more streamers turn to SSIMWAVE to ensure the best viewing experiences while reducing bandwidth costs.”
Founded at Ontario’s University of Waterloo, SSIMWAVE’s technology has improved the viewer experience of more than 150 million subscribers over billions of viewing hours to date. Its technology is protected with 50 patents and patents pending globally. SSIMWAVE has won a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award (2020) and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering (2015). SSIMWAVE was also honored as a Best New Streaming Technology winner in the NAB Show Product of the Year Awards in both 2022 and 2021.
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.