Anystream Merges with Voxant

Combined firm to serve as one-stop shop for Web video.
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Anystream, which provides video transcoding software and content-management tools for online and on-demand video platforms including high-profile Web efforts like NBCOlympics.com, is acquiring online-syndication network Voxant to help its programming customers more easily monetize their content.

Terms of the deal between the two privately held firms, both located in Virginia, were not disclosed.

Voxant specializes in syndicating video from programmers and other content companies, including both popular and niche, long-tail content, to a vast network of third-party Web sites. It strikes deals with Internet-advertising networks to monetize the content and collects advertising revenues on behalf of its customers.

The company manages 2 million licensed assets from more than 400 news, entertainment and sports content partners, including Reuters, CBS, MTV News, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and distributes them to a network of more than 30,000 affiliates which include mainstream portals, business-to-business and enthusiast Web sites and blogs. Overall, Voxant serves some 30 million video streams per month.

Anystream is well-entrenched in the production and content-management side of online video, with some 700 customers across 30 countries including CNN, Discovery Networks and Scripps Networks. Combining with Voxant will give it the missing piece of the online-video chain, which is monetization, said Russ Zack, vice president of product management for Anystream.

Voxant’s syndication network, which is already used by many Anystream customers, will allow programmers to maximize the revenue potential of their content in a “brand-safe way,” Zack added, as Voxant’s software can block content from going to undesirable sites. Overall, it should help Internet video get its fair share of the online-advertising pie.

“There’s still a major advertising imbalance, as very little online video is being monetized by advertising,” Zack said. “Customers need an end-to-end solution.”

The Voxant deal marks a strategic shift for Anystream, as it will now touch all three pieces of what Zack describes as the online video “ecosystem”: advertisers, publishers and content providers. It will also put Anystream in charge of collecting online-advertising revenues on behalf of the same customers that use its transcoding software to repurpose video for the Web in the first place.

Early feedback from large customers like NBC has been good, Zack said, and Anystream expects Voxant’s syndication network to be seen as complimentary to Anystream’s existing business, not in conflict with it.

“The large ones are pretty excited about it, as they were Voxant customers already,” he added.

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