86 STREAMING MEDIA INDUSTRY SOURCEBOOK 2018
for the WebM Project at Google, and On2’s former
CEO. “Today’s announcement is an important step to-
ward that goal.”
VP9 was released in December 2012, several months
prior to the March 2013 licensing noted above, and it
forms the basis for the emerging AV1 codec. Both are
considered open source, royalty-free codecs, and both
compete with H.265 (HEVC), the successor to the H.264
(AVC) codec that VP8 was intended to compete against.
4. & 5. Adobe-Macromedia-Aldus
Adobe, which had made a name in the desktop publishing space well before the advent of streaming, had
also acquired industry-leading video (Premiere) and
still photography (Photoshop) products to round out
its creative-class creds.
But the acquisitions of Aldus (owner of FreeHand,
PageMaker, and SuperCard) and Macromedia (
owner of Director, Dreamweaver, Flash, and Shockwave)
set Adobe on track to dominate top-of-the-line creative suites.
Dreamweaver, as one of the main HTML creation
tools, provided Adobe with a chance to move into the
web content creation space, and the Flash-Shockwave
combination provided the company with a dominant
online interactive toolset that still maintains a strong
market share some 13 years after Adobe acquired
Macromedia in 2005.
Adobe failed to acquire FreeHand in the Aldus acquisition, when the Federal Trade Commission ordered its return to Altsys, but was able to acquire
it during the Macromedia acquisition, since Macromedia had subsequently acquired it from Altsys. One
additional product that Adobe did not successfully
keep from the Macromedia acquisition was the Final Cut non-linear editing application. Final Cut, in
its Pro version, continues to compete with Adobe in
the production and online video compression space,
thanks to the acquisition of Final Cut by Apple and
the subsequent addition of the Compressor transcoding program.
Adobe has also been on the leading edge of moving its software from perpetual-license model to subscription service. While it continues to have vocal critics, especially those who frequently travel abroad and
face unnecessary re-authentication issues, the subscription model allows Adobe to normalize its revenue streams and rapidly offer updates to its customers who had traditionally relied on 18-month release
cycles to gain access to new features.
The 2006 acquisition of Nine Systems’ StreamOS by
Akamai Technologies made it into our Top 20 list of
M&A activities over the past 20 years, courtesy of a
number of survey respondents who felt this acqui-
sition helped reshape the streaming media mone-
“Akamai’s goal is to provide customers worldwide
with a unified solution for managing content and controlling delivery …,” Akamai said in a press release on
Nov. 20, 2006. “The acquisition of Nine Systems provides Akamai with a robust rich media management
framework, upon which services can be built to enable
customers to more effectively control and monetize
their digital assets.”
The acquisition of Elemental, a privately held company in Portland, Oregon, was a bit of a surprise to
the streaming industry. Elemental, led by the charismatic and always frugal Sam Blackman, never really had significant financial issues, and had a number
of investors, ranging from traditional investors like
Northwest Venture Partners and Steamboat Ventures
to key customers like Sky and Telstra.
In September 2015, Amazon Web Services (AWS)
announced that it was acquiring Elemental, whose
dedicated customer base relied first on its GPU-based
hardware transcoders and more recently on its move
to a software-defined video (SDV) approach. While the
new company is called AWS Elemental, it continues
to be run as a wholly owned subsidiary. While initial
valuation of the deal was a “reported $500 million” by
the TechCrunch team, the final price in late October
2015 was $296 million.
With the sudden passing in 2017 of Blackman, one of
the three founders, the company lost the most public
face associated with its products and services, but a
recent interview at Streaming Media West 2017 with
Keith Wymbs went a long way to assuring the industry that Elemental remains focused on its customer-first approach.
From the humble beginnings of Justin.tv, the 2007-
era brainchild of lifecaster Justin Kan, rose a formidable online platform for esports streaming. Kan, now a
partner at Y Combinator, rapidly moved from broadcasting his own day-to-day life—a faddish trend at the
advent of Web 2.0, before the explosion of social media
sites—to a live-streaming video game play, which itself has rapidly risen in popularity as part of the overall esports movement.
The online gaming streaming was renamed Twitch.tv
and was subject to a bidding war by a number of suitors, with Amazon ultimately winning with a $970 million offer.
High-flying online video and analytics platform
Ooyala was able to make inroads into the Asia Pacific