WideOrbit acquires VCI Solutions

WideOrbit, a provider of business management software for media companies that began business a decade ago, has acquired competitor VCI Solutions to become the top business software vendor for television stations, with over 1100 clients.

The San Francisco-based WideOrbit announced its intent to acquire all the assets and intellectual property associated with VCI’s Orion Business System, a sales and traffic software system. No financial details or purchase price was disclosed. Since no governmental approval is required, the deal is expected to close by the end of the month.

The VCI brand will be phased out and WideOrbit said it would support current Orion Business system clients for the length of their contract. After that, the company hopes the VCI client base will migrate to its own product.

“We respect the work that VCI has done over the past three decades, and it’s our intent to provide existing VCI customers with the same exceptional attention and customer support that WideOrbit customers are experiencing today,” said Eric R. Mathewson, founder and CEO of WideOrbit.

VCI has been in business for 26 years and was led by Lowell Putnam, the company’s founder and a pioneer in business software for broadcasters. Son of UHF television pioneer Bill Putnam, Lowell was hired by his father out of college to develop a new traffic management system for Springfield Television, the owner of several television stations. That pioneering work in traffic management software led to Putnam’s founding of VCI in 1984.

Putnam will not be involved with WideOrbit, nor will be any of VCI’s executives. WideOrbit said it would retain a small group of VCI employees for service and software support of existing VCI customers.

WideOrbit is used by more than 4000 television stations, radio stations, cable networks, cable interconnects and digital out-of-home networks worldwide, managing more than $14 billion in annual advertising revenue.

Its major remaining competitor is Harris, which in 2004 purchased Encoda Systems, a maker of business software for broadcasters.