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Softel sells Aston

The Softel Group is selling its video graphics systems company Aston Broadcast for an undisclosed fee to realtime graphics specialist Brainstorm Multimedia.

The Softel Group is selling its video graphics systems company Aston Broadcast for an undisclosed fee to realtime graphics specialist Brainstorm Multimedia.

The sale is the latest of a number of major changes initiated by Sam Pemberton since he took over as CEO of the Softel Group in July 2007. As part of a comprehensive restructure of the company, Pemberton is leading a fundamental strategic shift, refocusing the Softel Group on its core competencies around ancillary data solutions.

“We were approached by a number of potential purchasers,” said Pemberton. “But we felt Brainstorm was by far the best choice for our customers going forward. Aston Broadcast has a long standing relationship with Brainstorm and they are intimately familiar with the product, and crucially Brainstorm has a history of providing exceptional service to their customers and delivering pioneering solutions.

“We are very proud to have provided blue-chip broadcasters and premier signage companies with the Aston 7 system over the past several years and it is clear that the ‘A7’ has proven to be a sophisticated, yet intuitive and robust solution for broadcast and display graphics,” Pemberton added. “We know that the nuances of the graphics market require true focus, and we are delighted that Brainstorm will add their in-depth market know-how to the Aston offering.”

Pemberton pointed out that the broadcast industry is going through exciting technical and business shifts at the moment and that the Softel Group is working with broadcasters to ensure that new business models and ecosystems can cope with the challenges of ancillary data throughout the transition to multiformat, multiplatform delivery.

“As the industry adapts to a decrease in traditional linear advertising, interactive TV (iTV) applications such as interactive advertisements (iADs) are becoming increasingly important as they allow broadcasters to pocket critical incremental revenues and differentiate their brands,” Pemberton commented. “Moreover, modern subtitling systems open a wider audience for programming through language translation and by allowing hearing impaired viewers to engage with content.”

The Softel Group has more than 25 years of experience in providing ancillary data solutions – such as for iTV, opt cuing/ad insertion, subtitling and captioning – across the world to leading broadcasters and service providers. The divestment of Aston Broadcast will allow the Softel Group to deliver additional strategic focus to this quickly expanding market. The firm is launching a range of new and overhauled products to cater to major trends in the industry such as the moves toward automated and tapeless environments.

“Brainstorm is very proud to acquire such a prestigious brand in the world of video graphics,” said Ricardo Montesa, CEO of Brainstorm Multimedia. “Aston’s products are known in the market to be technically excellent as well as extremely user friendly. The Aston 7, which is already powered by Brainstorm’s powerful graphics engine eStudio, is an excellent addition to Brainstorm’s product range, providing us with a sophisticated solution for the character generation requirements of our current and future clients. We are very pleased that Aston Broadcast staff will join the Brainstorm Multimedia team to deliver a seamless transition for the incumbent customer base. We look forward to continuing and accelerating the roll-out of the Aston 7 and to continuing the development of the product so that it becomes a seamless part of the Brainstorm product range.”