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2 September 2021

Blink and you’ll miss more Telestream M&A, this time it’s virtual events

Make that four acquisitions year to date for Telestream, and twelve in total, as the US media vendor welcomes live event hosting and distribution company Sherpa Digital Media to the rapidly growing Telestream family.

Being owned by private equity firm Genstar Capital, Telestream has been handed a substantial amount of M&A capital to play with since Q4 2020, in contradiction to most. However, not one of the four recent deals has been given a price tag, so the total of Telestream’s spending spree will remain an internal secret.

US-based Sherpa provides a virtual events platform that it says is used by Fortune 500 companies the world over, streaming content to customers and employees at scale, to hundreds of thousands of viewers, while promising tight security. As many Faultline readers will be well aware of, some events have neither scale nor security.

Sherpa can host live and on-demand webinars, featuring all the mod cons the industry now expects, including breakout rooms, video hosting, marketing automation integration, secure streaming, and UX customization. But what does Sherpa really bring to Telestream, as a media processing and video quality monitoring specialist? Well, the acquisition should give Telestream a pretty good view of QoE data from the events platform perspective, which the vendor might want to use to tweak its extensive product portfolio, and then upsell these technologies to existing Sherpa customers.

That’s the short version anyway, as Telestream says additional resources will be deployed to support the platform for existing customers around the world, although this nugget is tucked away right at the bottom of the press release, and probably for good reason too. We reached out to Telestream regarding these bolstering plans and are planning a call to talk through these details in the coming weeks.

As well as serving numerous media use cases with a spread of transcoding, quality assurance, cloud media processing, quality monitoring, distribution, and ad tech, which is just scratching the service of Telestream services, the business also has some newly bulked muscles in the areas of content storage and archival management via the acquisitions of EcoDigital in October 2020 and Masstech in March 2021, bringing the company up to around 600 employees at the time. This was followed up quickly with the purchase of ContentAgent from Vecima Networks in April 2021, which offers an application used by major broadcasters and production companies to streamline content creation workflows.

Bigger still, Telestream released the Telestream Cloud Transform earlier this year – a product introduction which the vendor considers the most significant move since launching its popular Vantage Media Processing Platform.

Telestream Cloud Transform is a cloud-agnostic, API-driven media processing and transcoding service, which all sounds rather similar to rival product launches over the past year. However, the significance comes from this fully SaaS platform being based on the Telestream Media Framework, a proven technology that forms the foundations of Telestream media workflows across the globe, meaning Telestream customers have a future-proof path to cloud media processing and transcoding as technologies and standards evolve.

Telestream is betting heavily on channeling its 20+ years of transcoding experience into its cloud products, to transform customers’ businesses based on the notion that cloud represents the 4th generation of broadcasting after analog, then digital, then data center (an analogy it has borrowed from Deloitte). It claims Telestream Cloud Transform is one of very few API-first transcoding services on the market today that allows development teams to implement flexible workflows on their preferred cloud infrastructure provider.

Crucially, the new product is best suited for development teams implementing their own workflows which do not have a need for visualization tools. Billing is pay as you go, and getting started sounds exceptionally easy, while costs won’t start mounting until you really start throwing resources at it.

On the customer front, Telestream’s latest big win came at NBC Universal, providing media capture and automated processing workflows for NBC’s Olympics Games production, with involvement from video editing pioneer Avid. Here, Telestream supplied its flagship Vantage media processing platform and Lightspeed Live Capture technology to enable NBC Olympics’ editing teams to work in both SDR and HDR simultaneously – saving considerable time in the production process.