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GridNetworks Merges With Global Media Services

GridNetworks, an Internet video-distribution startup whose investors include Comcast and Cisco Systems, has been acquired by Global Media Services, a provider of digital media services with the same backers.

GMS claimed it currently delivers more than 175 million video streams per month for customers including MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, Fox Sports, Big Ten Network, Auction Network, Svedka Vodka, Speed TV and Condé Nast Publications.

The combined company will be led by CEO Charles Picasso, previously president and CEO of HIS, a provider of business information services. He also served as chief operating officer at Digital Island, an early content-distribution network provider, and has worked for NCR and AT&T.

"I am very excited by this merger as it builds on GridNetworks' current success in the delivery of HD-quality content to the TV, while also providing a means for customers to take advantage of GMS's additional capabilities to acquire, transcode, and distribute this content for them," Picasso said in a statement.

GMS and GridNetworks together will provide media services, including signal acquisition, content packaging, encoding, compression, dynamic advertising integration, digital rights management, transaction processing and HD-quality content delivery.

GridNetworks, based in Seattle, last year raised first-round financing of $9.5 million from Panorama Capital, Comcast and Cisco Systems.

GMS, founded in 2003, is based in New York City with additional broadcast production center facilities located in Vancouver, Canada and Denver, Colorado.

The other members of the GMS management team will include: Jennifer Sultan, president and founder of GMS; Melissa Marr, COO; Elgin Thompson, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development; and Jeff Payne, founder Grid Networks, who will be the chief technology officer of GMS's The Gridcasting Service.