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Autodesk Acquires Media 100's Streaming Software for $16 Million

Autodesk (www.autodesk.com) got into streaming media on Thursday when it announced that it’s Discreet division was acquiring the encoding and transcoding software from Media 100, for $16 million in cash. Specifically, Discreet is getting the Cleaner line, including Cleaner 5, Cleaner EZ, Cleaner Live, Charger and SuperCharger. It is also acquiring editing and streaming software like CineStream, EventStream technology, EditDV and IntroDV. Discreet expects the acquisition to be completed by the third quarter this year.

Media 100 (www.media100.com) is keeping its iFinish and Media 100i systems, including the ICE effects acceleration software and MPEG-2 solutions. Phil Miller, VP of product management at Discreet, said that it would be bringing on some of Media 100's engineering team. "Products are as good as the people behind them," he said. "We're very pleased with the [Media 100] team." Miller said that that Media 100's streaming products fit into Discreet's vision of the future.

"The Media 100 software fortifies our commitment to offer our Discreet customers a comprehensive suite of rich media solutions that address their needs from creation to distribution," said Paul Lypaczewski, general manager of Autodesk’s Discreet division. "The advantages of streaming are particularly compelling in today’s economic environment, as companies can improve productivity and customer communication with engaging, informational webcasts. The benefits of the full Discreet-Media 100 software product line will effectively align us to capitalize on this industry growth trend."

So if Media 100 couldn't make a go of the streaming market, why will Discreet succeed? "A few reasons," said Miller. "We're more established, have strong connections with corporate and education markets, have a worldwide presence, a really strong connection with the artistic community, and we’re already a leader in 3-D encoding. We're happy to say we'll have staying power," he said.

Miller said he couldn't specifically talk about future products, especially the newer Media 100 lines. Still he said he was familiar with the enterprise-class encoding system that was being showcased at this year's NAB show. "We're very familiar with the concept [of enterprise software]. We've had network-rendering products for 10 years in the animation space. Enterprise level encoding is desperately needed by large corporations." He said Discreet will target the corporate, institutional and prosumer market segments.

Media 100 Sticking To Digital Media

"We are confident in handing off the successful streaming media software products to Discreet — a natural choice to further develop and support streaming technology," said John Molinari, president and chief executive officer of Media 100, in a statement. "The transaction allows Media 100 to focus on introducing next-generation capabilities in our digital media systems business."

Molinari said he made the "right business decision" in selling its streaming line, calling Discreet a "bigger company." Ultimately, it came down to business reasons, he said. "If business levels were higher maybe we wouldn't be on the phone with you," he said during a conference call to investors and the media.

Molinari acknowledged that Discreet and Media 100 do compete in some areas. "It wasn't a big obstacle in our discussions with [Discreet]," he said. Still, he said Media 100 did sign a non-compete clause, saying it wouldn't release future products that compete with Discreet's new line.

Speaking about the streaming space, Miller said it was just a matter of if, not when, that streaming takes hold. He said Media 100 had the right vision, but not the right follow through. "I'd hate to comment on their motives," he said, " but they did a very good job of assembling all the pieces. They had the right idea, but not the follow through."

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