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According to it's quarterly financial report and buzz on the Internet, BSkyB purchased Acetrax, a small over the top internet TV provider, in April 2012.
The report states that "the acquisition will support the continued development of Sky's OTT activities and further strengthen relationships with connected device manufacturers and content providers."
From Rapid TV News:
Founded 2006 in Zürich, the company provides a transactional video-on-demand service to a wide range of Internet-connected devices including TVs, set-top boxes, personal computers, tablets and mobiles and claims to be currently addressing 80 million broadband households in seven countries, distributing content from Hollywood majors and European studios. It is embedded in products from the likes of Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Toshiba, Grundig, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Netgear and D-Link, and looks like being a perfect complement to BSkyB’s NOW TV OTT Internet TV service which is targeting the 13 million UK households who do not currently subscribe to any subscription pay TV service. As at 31 December 2011 Acetrax's gross assets were £2.3 million.
The new of the deal has been already well received with the analyst community. Giles Cottle, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, commented: “The buy is a very strategic one for the operator. BSkyB does not need Acetrax for its brand, its revenues, or even its many content deals. The key thing Acetrax does have is its integration with connected devices. The service is on the majority of Smart TV platforms and has achieved device-reach, which more fêted VOD services in Europe have not. It is this that BSkyB is most likely interested in, and in acquiring Acetrax it has effectively bought its way onto these devices for peanuts. The fact that it has done this by acquisition goes to highlight the continual difficulty that service providers have in working with the myriad of Smart TV platforms on the market today - after all, if a cash-rich service provider like Sky struggles with this fragmentation, what hope is there for other services?”
Speaking to MediaTel's ConnectedTV team, convergent media specialist Graham Lovelace, director of Lovelace Consulting, said:
"This is a smart move by Sky into smart TV. Acetrax has apps in a broad range of connected TV devices available in the UK and Ireland as well as Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and France. Relationships with consumer electronics companies and technical know-how can now be used to power Sky's roll-out of TV apps beyond its own IP-enabled TV set-top box.
"The acquisition also gives Sky a great deal of user knowledge in the emerging connected TV content market as well as user data which can be used to market its connected TV apps."