Turner Acquires Majority Stake in iStreamPlanet
In a deal that brings one of the biggest names in live-sports-streaming technology under the roof of a major live-sports rightsholder, Turner Broadcasting System has acquired a majority stake in iStreamPlanet, which provides large-scale, live event streaming, TV Everywhere Network simulcasts and OTT multiplatform solutions. Turner will leverage iStreamPlanet’s technology to deliver its OTT programming, shift its core technology infrastructure to the cloud and develop new products and services for existing and new businesses.
iStreamPlanet has been known for delivering large-scale events such as the Super Bowl and Olympics to millions of viewers. In addition, Turner Sports and iStreamPlanet have worked together in the past during the PGA Championship, including support for PGA Championship LIVE live streaming from this week’s tournament at Whistling Straights Golf Course in Sheboygan, WI.
SVG has confirmed that iStreamPlanet’s Aventus live cloud-based video-workflow product will serve as Turner Sports primary live-streaming platform going forward. Turner’s agreement with MLB Advanced Media to provide the backend infrastructure for its popular March Madness Live streaming offering expires following the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The deal represents a significant endorsement for cloud-based and automated-software technology for live streaming applications. The live-sports-streaming industry has seen a substantial growth in the use of Aventus and similar cloud-based streaming platforms due to their ability to quickly scale up or down for large-scale events without the need to invest in massive amounts of costly hardware and permanent infrastructure.
“We believe the video capabilities of the public cloud are mature and able to reduce dependency on physical on premises hardware,” says Turner CTO Jeremy Legg. “[The deal] means that we’ll be keeping and streaming more and more of our content in the cloud to take advantage of its global scale, automated software based workflows, and ability to speed development of new products and services.”
Under the terms of this deal, iStreamPlanet will remain a standalone entity and continue to conduct business and broker independent deals with existing and new third-party clients while working closely with Turner to explore new business opportunities. This means iStreamPlanet will continue to serve as the primary streaming platform for NBC Sports/Olympics and other established clients.
“We look forward to continuing to grow the business with our current customers and new ones,” says Mio Babic, CEO and founder of iStreamPlanet. “With the OTT market evolving and growing it’s essential that iStreamPlanet grows and evolves as well. Having access to Turner’s resources and insights as an innovator in the media industry will help us deliver next generation OTT solutions that meet the needs of our customers.”
Turner Sports EVP and GM Matt Hong notes that Turner had a pre-existing relationship with iStreamPlanet, both in the form of an equity investment and in an operating capacity for various Turner Sports properties. In addition to PGA Championship LIVE, Turner has also worked with iStreamPlanet for live streaming of NASCAR and other events.
“All of these factors in aggregate – lthis track record, our familiarity with and belief in the management team, and confidence in the cultural fit between the companies – led us to this deal,” says Hong.
In the press release distributed Friday morning, Turner Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Martin added: “There is no one better in the business. This partnership will expand our capabilities to offer live events within and outside of the traditional ecosystem and, by bringing iStreamPlanet’s innovative technology in-house, allow us to cultivate future business opportunities on digital platforms.”
Turner’s diverse technology requirements, ranging from live news, simulcast networks, video on demand and multiplatform specific content will also enhance iStreamPlanet’s commercial offering. Turner says this transaction is an important piece of Turner’s ongoing technology transformation with the potential to advance technological capabilities across all of Time Warner Inc.
“Turner is a media powerhouse with tremendous reach via their entertainment and live sports programming, and strong relationships with advertisers,” Babic added in the press release. “They have been a recognized innovator in the media industry, breaking ground first in cable and then in TV Everywhere. We couldn’t ask for a better partner to accelerate our growth and expand our portfolio of multiplatform OTT solutions to meet the changing needs of content owners and consumers.”