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Wowza Acquires Camfoo

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Popular streaming media content server company Wowza Media Systems is acquiring German-based cloud encoding company Camfoo, according to a Wowza source. The deal was finalized today in Amsterdam at the annual IBC broadcast and digital media trade show. Camfoo is Wowza's first acquisition since the company's founding in 2005.

“Wowza products have been used by Camfoo for several years,” said David Stubenvoll, co-founder and CEO of Wowza. "Combining Camfoo with our technology will provide customers with the simplest and most robust way to manage cloud streaming."

Camfoo uses Wowza Media Server as part of its overall offering -- a solution for managing cloud-based media streaming -- as a way to transcode live streams in the cloud, allowing its customers to send the transcode to CDNs or key online video platforms.

Because Camfoo offers live transcoding, it can also be used to send transcodes to a number of online live video platforms such as Ustream, Livestream, and YouTube. The service also enables streaming to leading CDNs such as Akamai, Level 3, and Limelight, according to the Camfoo website.

Users choose their source stream -- satellite downlink, RTMP stream from ProRec software, or CDN feed -- and then their output locations, with Camfoo's cloud-based transcoding handling the rest.

The entire service is a pay-as-you-go approach to transcoding, and it has yielded a significant customer base. Since its inception in 2006, Camfoo has developed, implemented, and delivered more than 1,000 streaming media projects, including major music festivals and the British royal wedding.

Wowza is not just picking up the Camfoo technology, but also leveraging the knowledge of the Camfoo team.

"We’re proud to welcome Camfoo’s team and technology into the Wowza family,”  said Stubenvoll in the press release announcing the deal. "In welcoming Camfoo’s technology and team members, Wowza has signified its commitment to providing both small and large customers with the simplicity, cost-efficiency, and scalability of the cloud."

“We’ve been working with Wowza for a long time," said Camfoo co-founder Philipp Angele. "We are excited by their vision for cloud streaming and thrilled about joining the team.” 

According to both Camfoo and Wowza, the acquisition offers significant advantages for the continued development and enhancement of Wowza Media Server.

“At Camfoo, we figured out how to stream anywhere in the cloud," said Camfoo co-founder Philipp Angele. "Wowza has perfected streaming to any device and, in tandem, our technologies have a lot to offer the media and entertainment industries."

"One benefit is from a cost perspective," said Angele, "since broadcasters can eliminate satellite transmission by sending a single stream at the highest quality possible over the available internet bandwidth, and then all the transcoding and routing takes place in the cloud. The other key benefit is the simplicity of setting up and managing multiple cloud-based workflows from a browser."

This emphasis on the cloud, and Wowza's commitment to cloud-based services, provides a natural complement to Wowza's existing offerings and roadmap.

"We were planning to build out a similar service," said Chris Knowlton, Wowza's vice president of product management, "and recognized that a number of Wowza customers were using Camfoo. So we began discussions around acquiring Camfoo and the teams were a good fit for one another."

The acquisition also complements another important piece of Wowza news announced at IBC, a tighter integration of Wowza Media Server with Amazon's CloudFront, which plays well to the pay-as-you-go model that Camfoo has used since its inception. Wowza customers can now leverage Amazon CloudFront from Amazon Web Services (AWS) with per-use Wowza Media Server instances.

"Customers can now efficiently stream audio and video content globally," said Knowlton, "to any screen without contracts, monthly commitments, or upfront fees."

This move to CloudFront leverages the per-use Wowza Media Server instances that were already available on Amazon EC2, but adds the complement of CloudFront's scalability and robust management reporting along with Wowza's multi-format distribution approach.

"Many of our customers are already using Wowza Media Server running on Amazon EC2 to distribute media,” said Knowlton. "By working closely with AWS to support Amazon CloudFront, we are now able to give customers the ability to scale and improve playback experiences for their audience without the higher costs and management requirements of building out their own origin-edge network."

Wowza cloud prototype encoders screen, integrating Wowza branding and Camfoo functionality

Wowza Cloud Encoders

Wowza cloud prototype workflow screen, letting users create a Wowza video workflow of origin servers, transcoders, edge servers, and load balancers usign a drag-and-drop interface.

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