Imagine Buys OpenTV’s Advanced Ad Biz From Kudelski

Video and multiscreen tech specialist Imagine Communications has acquired the advanced advertising business unit and related assets of OpenTV from the Kudelski Group.

Financial terms were not announced, but Imagine said the acquisition of assets will complement an advertising business systems portfolio that already manages more than $25 billion in annual advertising revenue worldwide, and believes the deal will provide its MVPD partners with new capabilities for consolidated, multi-platform billing, while also extending support for both impression-based and ratings-based advertising. 

Products acquired from OpenTV include its EclipsePlus, EclipsePlus/xG Billing, EclipsePlus/xG Insights and EclipsePlus/xG Linear advertising campaign management systems. Kudelski said those products are used by cable operators to manage more than 1.2 billion spots and over $3 billion of ad revenue annually. Imagine will also hire a number of OpenTV employees as part of the transaction.

Kudelski took control of OpenTV, a company that also specializes in set-top middleware and applications, in late 2009. On Thursday, Kudelski said the sale of the advanced ad assets of OpenTV was another step in the streamlining of its business portfolio as it looks to focus on content security, digital TV solutions and new initiatives such as cybersecurity. Kudelski sold its NagraID unit in August.

Imagine is making the deal as it looks to amplify its MVPD ad business and fleshes out its advanced ad technology roadmap. Glenn LeBrun, Imagine’s vice president of product marketing, said there’s some customer cross-over between Imagine and OpenTV among some major MVPDs, but noted that the deal also brings some new customers into the fold.

“The main value that we see in this deal is showing the commitment we have to the MVPD space,” he said. “We feel a strong sense that there’s an opportunity to provide advanced advertising functionality for the telcos and cable operators.”

LeBrun said the newly acquired assets will also play a role in Imagine’s development of a next-gen, cross-platform and more modular advanced advertising platform. That system will also be equipped to support automated, programmatic ad business models.

“The acquisition of OpenTV’s advanced advertising business amplifies our commitment to the MVPD market and accelerates the investments we are making in our advertising business systems portfolio,” said Charlie Vogt, Imagine’s CEO, in a statement. “The advanced advertising management technologies we have acquired from OpenTV add new capabilities to our portfolio and complement our media, playout and networking platforms. The addition of the experienced and talented research, development and services team from OpenTV further expands our world-class engineering and support expertise to create new innovations for this growing market segment.” 

“Broadband, the Internet and mobility are substantially contributing to the changing viewing habits of the new video consumer, making the challenges of managing video advertising campaigns increasingly complex and impacting media companies’ ability to monetize their content,” added Steve Reynolds, Imagine’s CTO, who joined the company from Comcast late last year. “The advanced advertising assets acquired from OpenTV are the result of significant investments in innovation to resolve these challenges for MVPDs by streamlining operations, lowering costs, providing rich analytics, and managing the complexity of working across both traditional and new media environments.”

Under Vogt, who took the helm of the company in July 2013, Harris Broadcast split itself into two separate operational  units – Imagine Communications and GatesAir – in March 2014.  Harris Broadcast closed its acquisition of digital video vendor Imagine Communications in January. In April, Imagine beefed up its multiscreen and TV Everywhere portfolio by acquiring Digital Rapids, a Canada-based maker of media processing systems for live streaming and broadcast and video capture and ingest, as well as workflow management.