Reflecting the rapidly growing interest in “channel in a box” automation solutions (see
), Grass Valley has jumped into the market with the acquisition of Dutch specialist Publitronic. Founded in 1997, Publitronic was formerly privately held and has around 800 channels on air. Terms of the acquisition have not been revealed.
According to the Grass Valley announcement, “integrated playout is one of the fastest growing segments in broadcasting, expected to increase significantly over the next three years”. It is, however, a crowded sector, with existing channel in a box specialists like Oasys and Playbox now being joined by Miranda (with the former Omnibus product) and new entrants like Pixel Power which is extending the capabilities of its branding systems.
“While there are benefits for some facilities in traditional playout automation, it is too expensive and unnecessarily complex for many of the new players coming on line,” the Grass Valley press release asserts. “Total cost of ownership is reduced by streamlining the playout workflow as each tool – server, graphics, master control and the automation system – is seamlessly integrated and purpose-built to work together.”
Grass Valley has up to now avoided its own automation product, preferring to sell servers and routers to a broad range of best of breed integrators. However, arch-rival Harris – also looking to sell servers and routers as widely as possible – has long supported its own automation products.
According to Alain Andreoli, CEO of Grass Valley, the Publitronic acquisition “represents a key growth opportunity for the K2 server family”, and indeed the former Publitronic products are being rebranded under the umbrella K2 Edge.
The Apeldoorn-based staff of Publitronic are all retained, with company founder Harold Vermeulen now appointed vice president for media playout solutions at Grass Valley. In a letter to existing Publitronic users he wrote that “some journeys are better taken together”.