In a smart move, LG taps KIT digital for connected TV push

editor's corner

Jim O'Neil

Recent research points to a growing trend toward connecting to the Internet via devices like TVs rather than through PCs, a trend, said IHS Research that will reach a tipping point by 2015. Much of that growth is being driven by consumers' desire to access over-the-top video, from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) to Hulu and sites owned by content owners.

KIT digital (Nasdaq: KITD), which has acquired a slew of companies across the online video space over the past year, has positioned itself to be a go-to partner with content owners and service providers looking to be OTT players, announcing a deal with LG Electronics to provide IP-video platform technology, content and professional services to the company's Home Entertainment Division for its Smart TV platform.

The cloud-based software solutions and technology services provider for multiscreen video management and delivery will work with LG to develop and deploy a joint multiscreen OTT solution that provides viewers with anytime access to live and on-demand premium 2D and 3D content on LG Smart TVs globally.

The partnership is pretty broad and takes connected TVs further than they've been leveraged to date.

LG will use KIT digital's cloud-based video asset management solution (its KIT Video Platform) to power LG's 3D Zone service, which provides applications on LG Smart TVs for viewing premium 3D video content. LG also will use KIT digital's global content services capabilities for 2D and 3D content licensing to augment LG's catalogue for its TV apps and 3D Zone service.

But the kicker is that KIT digital and LG will approach leading global multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) to offer them the ability to operate their premium content services seamlessly on LG Smart TVs, delivering live and on-demand content on LG's connected TVs.

And that will allow the two to expand their offering even more, as LG and KIT digital will eventually focus on multiscreen, 360-degree experiences across connected LG Electronics products, delivering interactive companion screen capabilities for IPTV and OTT customers. They'll even offer billing and back office services to support paid content opportunities will also be delivered under the agreement.

"This robust cloud-based video content solution will be an important driver for our Smart TV strategy, as well as our proposed offering to MVPDs globally," said Young-Jae Seo, vice president in charge of LG's Smart TV team. "This new ecosystem requires partnership and collaboration with businesses that are dedicated to providing and developing the technologies to meet growing customer demand for access to premium 3D content in the home."

Not familiar with KIT digital? You will be.

The global video management firm has amassed an impressive array of assets. In January it spent $77.2 million to acquire KickApps, Kewego and social video platform Kyte, which saw and began to leverage the value of social video long before its competitors.

Its April acquisition of ioko for $79.4 million gave it an end-to-end managed cloud-based platform solutions for multiscreen video delivery over connected IP devices to tier-one telco, cable, media and entertainment companies around the world, added more depth to KIT digital's OTT and connected device platform offerings for its network operator and media and entertainment verticals.

The company at one point in March was rumored as a possible suitor of OVP Ooyala and Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) back-end partner, thePlatform, a rumor the MSO said was untrue.

And, it hinted, in its second quarter earnings, that a larger acquisition was on the way, part of its effort to extend its global market share from 30 percent to 50 percent.--Jim