Arris, Charter Close $135M ActiveVideo Acquisition

Arris and Charter Communications said Friday that they have wrapped up their combined $135 million acquisition of cloud video specialist ActiveVideo Networks under a joint venture.  

Arris owns 65% of the J.V. ActiveVideo will operate independently of Arris and Charter, with Arris serving as the sales channel for ActiveVideo's CloudTV platform outside of sales to Charter, which is using the technology to underpin its new cloud-based Spectrum Guide for set-tops that use IP as well as MPEG-based transport. 

Update:  Charter has been testing Spectrum Guide in Fort Worth, Texas. The MSO expects to introduce it in other markets, including Reno, Nev.; and St. Louis, “in the coming months,” Tom Rutledge, Charter’s president and CEO, said Friday (May 1) on the company’s  first quarter earnings call. “Results in the test market have been positive,” Rutledge said, noting that Charter is also working to boost the number of on-demand titles it offers on set-tops and the Charter TV app by a factor of three.

Rutledge also noted that devices outfitted with the cloud-based Spectrum Guide will also be paired with a “small resident guide” to ensure that customers can still access a user interface “if the boxes ever lose connectivity to the server.” He also said Charter is also expecting to will expand into several markets the rollout of its hybrid QAM/IP “Worldbox” (Humax and Cisco Systems are the initial suppliers of it) that supports Charter’s new downloadable security platform.

Jeff Miller will continue to lead ActiveVideo as CEO. The ActiveVideo board is comprised of both Arris and Charter execs. The deal was announced on April 14.

In addition to Charter, ActiveVideo customers include Cablevision Systems, Liberty Global, Deutsche Telekom, Time Warner Cable, J:COM, Philips, and Roku, among others.

“We expect to be able to scale [ActiveVideo’s] business and take the technology and deploy it more ubiquitously around the world,” Bruce McClelland, president of Arris’s network and cloud and global services division, said in a recent interview about the deal.

A Q&A with Gary Lauder, the managing director of Lauder Partners and former chairman of ActiveVideo, will be featured in the May 4 issue of Multichannel News