Harris Broadcast Deals For Imagine Communications

Says Acquisition Will Accelerate Its Multiscreen Video Roadmap

Harris Broadcast on Wednesday announced it has inked a deal to acquire Imagine Communications, a vendor that specializes in digital video gear for linear video as well as adaptive bit rate systems tailored for over-the-top video, IPTV and cloud DVRs services, and authenticated TV Everywhere applications.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but Harris Broadcast expects to complete the deal in January.

Harris Broadcast plans to hire most, if not all, of Imagine’s base of about 50 employees, according to CEO Charlie Vogt, who took the reins of Harris Broadcast in July following about nine years as the head of Genband.

Vogt said Harris Broadcast, which makes video encoding and transcoding gear and counts NBC and ABC among its customers, has had multiscreen adaptive bit rate technology on its roadmap for a while, but believes acquisition of Imagine will “accelerate our time to market.” He estimates that the deal will boost Harris Broadcast’s addressable market by more than $300 million.

Imagine’s flagship adaptive bit rate product for IPTV and multiscreen video applications is the next: Dense Transcoder, a platform that, it claims, supports up to 320 high-definition or 640 standard-definition profiles per rack unit.

Once consummated, the deal will put Harris Broadcast in more direct competition with other vendors that specialize in OTT and TV Everywhere video systems, including RGB Networks, Elemental Technologies, Envivio, and Harmonic.

Vogt said he hopes to differentiate by offering an integrated package that includes elements such as ad insertion, business management software, and digital asset management, rather than requiring service providers to stitch those systems together themselves.

Founded in 2005, San Diego-based Imagine has raised least $34 million. Investors include Carmel Ventures, Columbia Capital, and Court Square Ventures. Imagine has typically kept a lid on its customer base, Vogt said Imagine has done business with the top 10 cable operators in the U.S.

Of recent note, Vogt rounded out his new leadership core with the hiring of former Comcast exec Steve Reynolds as chief technology officer, and Skip Sorenson as chief financial officer.