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Sorenson and Real Announce Partnership for Encoding and Delivery

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Bringing together what they view as complementary product offerings and market presences, Sorenson Media and RealNetworks announced a strategic partnership today. The two will offer customers file-based and live video encoding, as well as on-premises and cloud-based management and delivery.

Sorenson customers have been asking for live encoding for some time, says Sorenson vice president of business development Kirk Punches. The company announced a beta offering last year in a partnership with Kulabyte, but that was scuttled following that company's acquisition by Haivision. Soon after, Sorenson began looking for a new live partner, one that it ultimately found in Real. Discussions between the two companies began early this year.

While the two company's offerings overlap slightly in desktop encoding, Punches says the two are more complementary. Real is focused on live encoding, he says, and has live offerings for both desktop and server. Sorenson is strong in file-based encoding for both desktop and server. Real's Helix product line, which Punches calls a private YouTube in a box for enterprise, complements Sorenson 360, he says, which is cloud-based.

"It's really filling in the blanks on both sides," says Punches.

"From our point of view, it adds a VOD workflow, which we don't have today, so it adds value to our existing customers," says RealNetworks global partner director David J. Smith. "Our strength is in streaming to multiple devices. Device reach has always been our story. Their strength has always been in workflow for video-on-demand, taking video from a gazillion places and consistently creating the same kind of output."

Real is stronger in the carrier and government verticals, says Punches, while Sorenson is stronger in entertainment. Real has a larger customer base in Asia, the South Pacific, and Latin America. Sorenson and Real are also alike in key areas, he adds, saying that both are platform agnostic and have the same customer support philosophy.

"We think this is a really good marriage of brand, business focus, and development philosophies," says Punches.

Customers will be able to save money by purchasing a bundled solution that includes components from both companies. Components that would normally have a bundled price of about $12,000 will sell bundled for about half that. Customers pay a one-time license fee, plus ongoing support. Eventually unified versions of the two company's software will be available. While no time frame has been set, Punches thinks that could reach customers by mid-2013.

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