Amino Acquires UX Specialist 24i Media for €21.4 Million
Pay TV solution provider Amino Communications has acquired Amsterdam-based UI/UX specialist 24i Media for for €21.4 million ($23.7 million). The 24i brand will be retained and embrace Amino's existing video experience solutions business. Founders Martijn van Horssen, CEO, and Hans Disch, CSO, will remain with the company and own a share in this new division.
"It's clear to us that delivering the UX is one of most compelling offers in the marketplace," says Amino CEO Donald McGarva. "Traditionally the operator might do the UX, and all the rest of the backend is outsourced. That's where it becomes an issue. Sometimes going that route can give a non-optimised experience.
"Now, when you are engaged with a new UX for a customer, you are at the front end of the whole sale process. We think working together [with 24i] we can deliver a better experience by ensuring the backend technology is fully integrated."
Amino TV is the firm's IPTV platform. AminoOS is the operating system to help deploy, manage, and upgrade a service. The company also offers AminoVu, a suite of client TV devices and media servers.
"The missing piece we were looking for was 'sticky' software which engages with customers and which delivers new UX across multiple devices," McGarva says.
24i's module-based technology framework allows broadcasters, operators, and media companies to create and launch personalized cross-screen streaming services.
"Our platform is like a giant box of Legos, where customers can build their own apps with our components, or they can purchase a fully completed package," van Horssen says.
Aside from the technology and product assets, he says there was a good cultural fit between the two companies.
Android TV may be the fastest growing platform in the world, but Amino clients don't want the standard launcher. "They want a custom launcher so that they can utilize all the benefits of Android such as voice activation but want to work with somebody they feel has good expertise to deliver it," says McGarva. "We have that confidence in 24i."
Amino has deployed Android TV for Finnish telco DNA and is in process of deploying it for other customers.
"Our customers don't just want one device. They want the experience across smart TVs, mobile device, Roku and Apple TV on iOS and Android," McGarva says. "They want more than the TV experience, but still using legacy assets."
With the current fuss around TV/SVOD content and service fragmentation, McGarva argues that OTT providers would rather reach the consumer through the pay TV portal.
"We're offering them a solution so traditional pay TV and OTT can converge around aggregated content," he says.
"In the UK recently, if you were a Virgin Media customer and wanted to watch Game of Thrones,you to had to make a separate contract with Sky. We think that in future operators will be able to provide access to all content to the benefit of everyone. It is the direction we are headed in, and the direction pay TV is headed in, so that they are still the portal for the consumer."
24i itself had been on an acquisition spree over the last 14 months, adding Dutch multiscreen video platform provider Vigour, Czech TV app agency Mautilus (specializing in HbbTV and applications for multiple devices), and most recently StreamOne, whose largest client was Dutch publisher TMG.
These were all part of an "ambitious strategic plan and technology vision" to innovate and optimize the UX, user interaction and consumer value of OTT services, according to van Horssen.
Earlier this year, 24i announced it would launch an ATSC 3.0 solution for addressable advertising and ad measurement.
Its clients include NPO, iflix, KPN, RTE, Fox Sports, and Sinclair Broadcasting Services.