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Telestream acquires content storage management company EcoDigital

TVBEurope hears from Telestream CEO Dan Castles and EcoDigital CTO Geoff Tognetti about the deal.

Telestream has announced the acquisition of EcoDigital, formerly Front Porch Digital, whose clients include Sky, the BBC and TV2.

Financial details of the transaction have not been revealed, but the acquisition has been completed.

EcoDigital is the parent of content management software (CMS) solution, Diva, which manages the archiving and retrieval of a customer’s assets. Diva automates the process and provides transcoding to and from the archive repository. The storage repository can be on-premise utilising almost any vendor’s physical storage (online, nearline or deep storage on LTO tape) or in the Cloud (Google, Microsoft, AWS, Alibaba or Oracle).

The two companies have worked together for close to 20 years, and for over a decade EcoDigital has been an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of Telstream with its FlipFactory product, which was a predecessor to Vantage.

According to Telestream CEO Dan Castles, both companies view broadcast as a key market. “Their real play in broadcast is content management, and we stay very, very close to the content side of that food chain as well, so to say this is an adjacency is kind of an understatement,” he tells TVBEurope. “For us, this is an opportunity to take a very natural step and expand our reach, but we’re also expanding it to a very core base of customers, most of whom we know very well.”

Geoff Tognetti, CTO at EcoDigital, adds, “For us having worked with Telestream for so long, what we hear from from our market and from our clients are a lot of the problems that Telestream is either already solving or wants to solve around workflow orchestration and media management. These are the areas they want to grow into with us. Some areas we were already exploring with our R&D department but simply didn’t have the reach or the ability to go into. So, it really made a lot of sense to partner with them, to be able to go after those areas together. To me it’s really a very natural fit.”

According to Tognetti, EcoDigital offers Telestream the opportunity to build tighter integrations between storage, media workflows and media management. “Broadcasters are really broadening their horizons, and they’re looking to us as the the experts who deal with their storage, to be able to adjust with them and and that’s difficult to do when you’re approaching it from just a storage centric perspective. You really need to look at it from a bigger picture and I think that that ultimately is what being with Telestream brings us. It allows us to look at that full picture for our customers.”

“When you look at companies, and I don’t care who they are and what they do, you look at their products to see where are they in their evolution. EcoDigital have just gone through a major release of Diva which is version eight, and that’s really important to us,” adds Castles. “It’s not a situation where it’s a great fit but the products are five years behind and we’ve got to do a major architecture upgrade. One of the things that they brought to us was a very current product architecture.

“One of the things that appealed to me is what can Telestream bring to the equation, and I don’t mean this in a negative way at all, but I believe we bring credibility to that powerful Diva story in the marketplace because we’re a known entity. I could see how relevant current product, combined with their history with us and our current longevity is a good thing. Also, strategically their Cloud strategy and ours are very similar in terms of where they are in their evolution in being Cloud agnostic. For both companies it’s going to be a hybrid environment for a number of years in terms of what people do on prem and in the Cloud. So, we saw that as synergistic,” he continues.

As part of the acquisition, customers can expect to see Diva integrated with Telestream’s media processing platform Vantage. “We’re going to take a very careful look particularly in the area of workflows and automations, it’s going to be about streamlining the experience and making customer’s operations more efficient,” says Tognetti. “Anything that can make the process of manipulating media and making that more efficient and making customers more streamlined we’re absolutely going to be taking a very close look at.”

The news of the acquisition follows Telestream’s move for Tektronix 18 months or so ago. Can we expect to see the company active in the market again in the near future? “If you asked me four months ago I wouldn’t have expected this!” laughs Castles. “We would like to do another deal. We are looking, and in this environment you have to really look with a different filter, because just like all companies we have the same struggles because of Covid that our industry does. We are managing through it really well but we’re not immune from it, so you have to really be careful with how you look at the fundamentals of the business and like with the EcoDigital deal, you have to really be confident of your fit.

“We believe in organic growth and we believe in, where appropriate, opportunistic acquisition-based growth and so we’re absolutely looking. And I guess if we didn’t have another one in the next six months then I’d be disappointed,” he concludes.