Ericsson plans to acquire Red Bee Media, continue expanding IP video focus

Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC) is obviously following a planned strategy that all video is IP-based and, at the same time, all video media--traditional broadcast, wireless and IPTV--are interrelated. The latest evidence of this ongoing strategy is Ericsson's announced plans to acquire U.K.-based media services company Red Bee Media.

In a press release, the company said the acquisition "supports Ericsson's strategy to grow in the broadcast services market and takes advantage of its technology and services leadership to help broadcasters and content owners address the convergence of video and mobility."

Vish Nandlall, head of strategy, marketing and chief technology officer, laid out a portion of the ongoing Ericsson strategy during a conversation at GENBAND's Perspectives13 conference in Orlando in May, including the company's efforts to blend its wireless expertise with wireline content and transmission methods and how it will use the Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Mediaroom IPTV middleware platform it is also in the process of acquiring.

"Clearly we have a wireless heritage and we're going to be focused on that, but that's not going to come at the expense of the wireline," Nandlall said during the interview. "I think this is more of a focus on multiscreen versus a focus on single screen. Wireless is the growth in terms of where the connected devices are and is probably the place where there's a larger opportunity."

Red Bee Media will further expand Ericsson's broadcast services business, which already got a boost when the vendor acquired Technicolor's broadcast services division in 2012. Red Bee, which is currently owned by Macquarie Advanced Investment Partners, L.P. brings with it 1,500 worldwide employees "as well as media services and operations facilities in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Australia," the press release stated.

"Ericsson is making a step change to our business, cementing our commitment to TV and broadcast services and continuing a journey we started in 2007," Magnus Mandersson, the company's EVP and head of business unit global services said in the press release. "We can create value for broadcasters by making digital content more accessible, enabling monetization of TV content more efficiently."

While the acquisition most directly impacts broadcast operations, it affects the entire Ericsson's product portfolio because, the press release said, "new services are expanding and re-defining the way consumers experience entertainment, placing new economic and creative demands on businesses—whether they be broadcasters, telcos or other media companies—worldwide."

For more:
- see this press release

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