While it’s been developing cloud-based software for a while, Telestream revealed plans to really push into the cloud with its recent acquisition of Encoding.com.
The company has been cloud-native since inception, and Telestream believes the acquisition will benefit its customers as they look to move either fully into the cloud or employ a hybrid workflow of cloud and on-premise.
There were three primary reasons that drove the company to acquire Encoding.com, Telestream’s president and chief operating officer Jon Wilson tells TVBEurope. Technology, people and the customer base.
“Starting with the technology, it was all about extending our presence from a cloud perspective,” he adds. “We built a fantastic business on-prem, we’ve got thousands of customers that are leveraging Vantage and our other products, and we’ve begun to extend that to the cloud as we see customers beginning to migrate. Encoding.com was in part a way to extend what we’ve been doing from a cloud perspective. What they’ve been really great at over the last few years is extending their reach to the broadcast space, specifically for OTT workflows, where we haven’t been as strong.
“Secondly, the people who have led the business, Gregg Heil and Jeff Malkin, are a great team. They’ve built a great organisation, and they’re going to put us in position as we go forward to more meaningfully accelerate our cloud strategy. They also bring a great set of customers, many of which are Telestream customers, and now we’re in an even better position to support our combined customer base as they continue to evolve towards more cloud workloads over time.”
As much as Telestream sees the deal as helping it to branch out into OTT, there will be opportunities for more traditional broadcast clients to get their hands on Encoding.com’s technology. “Encoding.com were OTT first but the focus has begun to shift towards more broadcast-centric workflows,” explains Wilson. “So we’ve really got a great opportunity to accelerate and extend what we’ve been doing not just for OTT within Encoding.com or broadcast for Telestream, but combined it’s a much more powerful solution.
“Also, with the combined organisations, it puts us in a position, we believe, from an engineering perspective to now really accelerate our portfolio and our offerings as we go forward. That’s going to be really important for us.
As part of the announcement of the acquisition in May, Telestream’s CEO Dan Castles said Encoding.com will fit with what he described as Telestream’s strategic direction. Does that mean Telestream is looking to shift totally to focusing on cloud-based workflows?
“We will absolutely have both cloud and on-prem,” states Wilson. “But, it’s increasingly important for us to be more relevant from a cloud perspective. This is going to be a multi-year transition, and even through that multi-year transition the vision that we see is still very much a hybrid environment for most customers There’s still going to be customers that have a portion of their infrastructure potentially on-prem, or some customers that, for a variety of reasons, are going to maintain on-prem infrastructure, and we need to be relevant for both.
“Increasingly as we go forward, we want to be able to provide solutions that allow our customers the flexibility to do on-prem, cloud, and hybrid. The underlying technology stack will be as similar as possible so that they have a seamless experience, especially for hybrid workflows, regardless of what they want to do. But we also want to put customers in a position over time to be able to orchestrate the workflows regardless of where they’re doing their work from an infrastructure perspective.
“Cloud has and will increasingly become more relevant over the next three to seven years,” Wilson adds. “Seven years from now, what does the percentage of cloud versus on prem or hybrid look like? I’m not sure, but cloud is going to represent a much more significant portion of the overall infrastructure than it does today.”
Finally, Telestream has been really active in the market in recent years, not just acquiring Encoding.com, but also Masstech, Sherpa Digital Media and ContentAgent. Does the company’s leadership team view acquisitions as an easier way to move into the cloud etc than developing the technology itself?
“Not surprisingly, it depends,” states Wilson. |But what I would say is, if you look at the acquisitions that we’ve done over the last couple of years, Encoding.com is really the first that pushes us towards cloud. Everything before Encoding.com was really extending our technology stack outside of our core set. Now we have broader capabilities across the media supply chain. Those other acquisitions were critical for us to extend the broader solution for customers to embrace more and more workflows as part of the media supply chain from Telestream.
“I would say with Encoding.com, I feel really great about where we are from an ability to build what we have internally from a cloud perspective. Our combined engineering product excellence is going to really put us in a great position now to be able to build versus buy. I’d say we’re in a really great position now but we’re still going to be opportunistic. If we see deals out there to further extend our reach from a cloud perspective, then we’ll certainly look at them.”