Part of Rovi’s $1.1 billion cash-and-stock acquisition of TiVo includes the former adopting the latter’s name. But it was another name change for Rovi in 2009 that marked the path the company would take to get where it is today.
Originally known as Macrovision, the company was mainly in the content protection business during its early years, with widespread use of its encoding technology by Hollywood studios and consumer electronics companies.
But in mid-2008, Macrovision began its shift away from content protection to a focus on providing digital entertainment technology solutions, with the completed acquisition of Gemstar-TV Guide International. That necessitated a name change, and a year later, Rovi was born.
Here are five acquisitions Rovi’s made that led up to the TiVo purchase, that helped turn the company from a little-known content protection outfit to a digital giant that will reach 28 million homes across 75 countries following the TiVo deal.
While it was still called Macrovision, the company turned heads when it announced it would acquire Gemstar-TV Guide for $2.8 billion, folding in Gemstar’s interactive program guide technologies, data services, and connected platform offerings. Macrovision then turned around and sold off the TV Guide Network and TV Guide Online businesses to Lionsgate, and shed itself of any other business unit that didn’t revolve around entertainment technology.
“We are now in a position to accelerate our vision by providing an enhanced combination of capabilities in support of the entire value chain, which is designed to deliver a differentiated solution for consumers,” Macrovision’s CEO and president at the time, Fred Amoroso, said when the deal was announced in late 2007.
The company’s first acquisition as Rovi went down in early 2010, with Rovi bringing content recommendations technology firm MediaUnbound into the fold. The acquisition was just the first in a series of similar content search and recommendation targets Rovi would go after (SideReel in 2011, Veveo in 2014).
The late 2010 acquisition of Sonic Solutions for $720 million marked a bold attempt by Rovi to get directly into the digital content delivery game, adding the cloud-based digital media service RoxioNow and the DivX video codec technology to its portfolio. Neither worked out, though: Rovi sold everything associated with Roxio to Canadian software company Corel in early 2012, and got rid of DivX in a sale to Parallax Capital Partners and StepStone Group in early 2014.
In mid-2013, Rovi picked up cloud-based predictive analytics company Integral Reach, a crucial part of what would become Rovi’s Audience Management Solution, which integrates data from consumer video views and offers behavior information to cable operators, programmers and service providers. The pick-up helped Rovi become a go-to source for media companies looking to deliver more personalized experiences to customers.
Fanhattan made plenty of noise in 2013, with the start-up online streaming company debuting a new set-top that offered live TV, DVR services and streaming. Rovi noticed, adding Fanhattan’s technology to its ranks in late 2014. In early 2016, Rovi shifted away from the idea of a Fan TV hardware business, instead debuting the Fan TV Platform, covering an operating system for set-tops and a cross-screen suite of apps for consumer electronics.
“Rovi prides itself in realizing innovations before the industry demands them, and we are excited to augment our next-generation guidance and discovery solutions with an award-winning unified entertainment experience,” Omar Javaid, former SVP and GM of Rovi’s Discovery Group, said when the acquisition was announced. “We believe the Fanhattan technologies and team will complement Rovi’s advanced metadata, semantic discovery, and predictive analytics capabilities to offer truly differentiated solutions to our customers.”