There has been one significant gap in the solution portfolio offered by Accedo until recently and that was a high-quality multiscreen UX and backoffice solution designed to give the Tier-2 market the right trade-off between full customisation and an off-the-shelf offering. That did not cause the Stockholm-headquartered firm any harm, judging by its 1,000% growth in five years and 2,000 deployments, but it was about to become a bigger issue as the mid-tier video service provider market increasingly seeks off-the-shelf answers.
Step forward Digiflare, the multiscreen apps specialist and former competitor to Accedo in North America. This company markets Videa, a solution that combines app front-end capabilities with a backoffice hub and integrations. Accedo and Digiflare merged in November to create a video experience giant with solutions for everyone.
This combined company can address all geographic markets, with Accedo giving the international reach to the Digiflare offer that it previously lacked. The combined entity can cater for a wide spectrum of requirements including: Tier-1 service providers who still prefer full customisation because of the opportunities it gives them for differentiation; Operators and broadcasters in emerging markets who need custom solutions and professional services for an immature marketplace; Small providers looking for entry-level, off-the-shelf solutions; Mid-tier providers in search of high-quality multiscreen user experiences that are more ‘ready-made’; Tier-1 providers who are spurning custom-built solutions.
The Videa platform (originally from Digiflare, now from the enlarged Accedo) supports native video applications that work on any device and can be put into the market quickly. Apps are optimised for each native device UX paradigm and can be re-skinned or re-branded in real-time. Apps can be updated without users having to download the apps again. The Videa Hub backoffice is pre-integrated with popular OVPs (online video platforms), CDNs, video players, DRMs, authentication systems, recommendation engines, analytics and ad serving and ad-insertion solutions, among other things.
Digiflare customers include Hearst Television (July 2016 launch, multiscreen local news for the 10-foot experience via the Amazon FireTV streaming box) and CNN Digital (CNNgo on Roku). Michael Lantz, CEO at Accedo, says the November merger brought together the North American market leader (Digiflare) with the joint-second market leader in that territory (Accedo). The companies have quite often worked alongside each other for the same companies – usually taking care of different device platforms.
As 90% of Digiflare business has been in North America, and the company has two offices, in Toronto and Denver, this company already had its own decision to make about how to expand globally. Options included setting up their own international distribution network or working with a partner. The Accedo deal solves that dilemma; Accedo brings its 18 global offices to the marriage. Accedo Invest is the new holding company for the expanded group, with Accedo shareholders taking the larger share of the merged venture. “This merger creates the world’s leading video experience company,” the new Accedo claims. David George, whose title at Digiflare was co-CEO, said, “We are excited about the opportunity to bring our innovative solutions to the global market.”
Accedo and Digiflare complement each other in at least one other way. Digiflare is focused more on the UX (user experience) side of the business, with a special talent for the navigation and look-and-feel of services. Accedo has a stronger heritage in managed services and management systems. One of the immediate sales synergies – and sources of new revenue – is to increase Videa sales internationally. Accedo says it is ready to make more ‘acquisitions’ if it feels it can further boost its solution portfolio.