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18 July 2019

Nothing left in Ooyala locker after Flex platform sale to Dalet

Three products down, none to go. OTT video technology vendor Ooyala continues to shrink at an alarming rate as CEO Jon Huberman succeeds in recuperating the books following last year’s disastrous $500 million asset write down which killed off the ad tech division. The latest casualty is the sale of the Ooyala Flex Media platform to media asset management (MAM) firm Dalet for an undisclosed fee and if the announcement is 100% accurate, it leaves Ooyala in the bizarre position of having no products whatsoever.

So, what remains of Ooyala now after shipping off its two core products and losing the other? Following the deal with rival vendor Brightcove earlier this year, buying the Ooyala Online Video Platform (OVP), the sale of Flex means that officially Ooyala’s website products page is empty. While the barren shop window is a huge concern, Ooyala still lists 3 “solutions” – Content Production, Content Distribution and the Intelligent Archive. Yet together, these three technologies make up the Flex Media Platform – so Ooyala must be retaining certain components or it would fundamentally be out of business.

Neither company has responded to our queries which only arouses further suspicions about the deal. In the meantime, aside from being another nail in the Ooyala coffin, the deal also signals the rising significance of MAM technology as such systems increasingly encompass a wider range of services – essentially enabling service providers to do more with less.

Workflow savings have been significant. Ooyala has previously cited Turner Asia Pacific as making 85% savings on the amount of times its various teams spent on workflow, which would translate to substantial cost savings.

Dalet, a French software outfit Faultline Online Reporter has covered on just 3 separate occasions in our 16+ years of publishing, aims to expand its SaaS-based offerings to additional verticals and grow recurring revenues through an inherited customer base which boasts customers including HBO Asia and Portuguese operator NOS.

Typically associated more with the production and distribution of news content, via its Unified News Operations product replacing legacy production equipment in newsrooms with configurable workspaces, Dalet will reach into the entertainment sector via Flex and also establish relationships with Flex’s extensive partnership list.

The Flex ecosystem is designed to connect the entire content supply chain from preparation to profit. For workflow processes including pre-production, production and ingest, it lists Aspera, AWS, Microsoft, Google Cloud and Adobe as partner apps, while post-production links to Avid. The assets and metadata piece of the puzzle welcomes Telestream, Oracle, Interra Systems and Imagine Communications as partners, while analytics encompasses Brightcove and Elastic. All of these are designed to complement Ooyala’s own assets including Move for ingest and import, MAM for post-production, Review for archive and storage, Publish for publishing, and Track for business insights and reporting.

This is all in the name of smoothing the process of delivering and monetizing content by opening up additional channels for customers. How smooth will the process be of migrating and maintaining these relationships under Dalet ownership we wonder – or will the company streamline the platform further and take only the MAM elements which are familiar territory?

Dalet CEO David Lasry cited modern metadata management and orchestration capabilities as Flex’s key selling points, giving us a glimpse into where Dalet plans to apply its newly acquired assets. As for verticals, Dalet is eager to expand to corporate brands, telcos, leagues and sports teams.

When Brightcove completed its acquisition of the Ooyala OVP in April, we noted that the Flex Media Platform appeared to be showing resilience in the face of adversity, having just won a deployment at creative production agency the Picture Production Company – assisting film studio clients to more efficiently distributed content via a system which audits, tracks and stores media assets. Back at NAB, Ooyala also announced an integration with Google Cloud Video Intelligence, one of its AI and machine learning products, for use in precise analysis and metadata enrichment.

Dalet will take on an unspecified number of people from technical, marketing, sales, support and professional services teams.

We also spent some time speaking with Brightcove at NAB, learning that the deal for Ooyala’s OVP gifts it an additional 150 to 200 customers including Turner, Audi, Dell, the PGA Tour, and Turner Asia Pacific – primarily for live video. The vendor told us it was in the process of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of merging Ooyala’s OVP with Brightcove’s own infrastructure and how to efficiently migrate customers over to the new platform.

Lasry commented, “By acquiring Ooyala, Dalet significantly widens the markets it can address in terms of verticals and their respective tiers of complexity. A perfect complement to our existing Dalet Galaxy five offering in our traditional markets, the Ooyala Flex Media Platform also opens opportunities for new customers who are looking to simply manage their media assets.”

It wouldn’t be a total surprise if the Ooyala brand had vanished entirely by the time 2020 rolls around.