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January 21, 2016
IBM Acquires Ustream, Launches Cloud Video Unit
Posted by KMontgomery

IBM Acquires Ustream, Launches Cloud Video Unit

IBM’s latest acquisition, live video provider Ustream, is also part of a new Big Blue enterprise: the Cloud Video Services Unit.

Ustream, in operation since 2007, delivers live and on-demand video for customers such as TheDiscovery Channel, Facebook, NASA, Nike andSamsung. The San Francisco-based Ustream and other recent IBM acquisitionsincluding cloud video company Clearleap will make up the new cloud video unit.

IBM estimates the demand in cloud-based video services at $105 billion in 2016. “Video has become a first-class data type in business that requires accelerated performance and powerful analytics that allows clients to extract meaningful insights,” said IBM Cloud Senior Vice President Robert LeBlanc in a statement. “Aligning our expansive video and cloud innovations into an integrated unit will create opportunities for clients to take advantage of this medium in the most strategic way possible.”

The new cloud video unit will be led by General Manager Braxton Jarratt, the former CEO of Clearleap, which IBM acquired last month. In addition to Ustream and Clearleap, also folded into the unit are IBM R&D assets that include more than 1,000 patents in the cloud video space and two other acquisitions: storage companyCleversafe, acquired in October, and cloud data transfer company Aspera, acquired in 2013. Financial terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.

Reports of IBM’s interest in Ustream arose Wednesday with Fortune magazine reporting that UStream could reap about $130 million in the deal.

IBM aims to offer solutions to help corporations and companies make better use of their growing video data stockpiles. Storing video isn’t the problem, but much of video today is “dark data,” that is unstructured and unable to be managed effectively, IBM CEO Ginny Rometty said recently during a keynote delivered at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. IBM’s goal is to make video data as searchable and manageable as other data, she said.

“Through this latest acquisition and the creation of a new cloud business unit, IBM will provide an end-to-end suite of digital video solutions for the first time under one roof,” Jarrat said in a statement. “As a result, clients will be able to take advantage of every stage of the video life cycle through advances in customization, digital access, visual analytics and more, all to enable the consistent delivery of video content globally.”


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