Ericsson acquires TV expertise, as it bids to open new managed services market

Ericsson said it is now ready to bring telecoms-style managed services to the broadcast industry, after completing the acquisition of UK-based TV specialist Red Bee Media.

The infrastructure company said the acquisition provides it with the expertise needed to deliver TV content to any device on demand--a key goal of Ericsson's media strategy. Red Bee Media has 1,500 employees, and counts companies including BSkyB, Canal Digital, EE, and Virgin Media among its customers.

Magnus Mandersson, executive vice president and Head of Ericsson's Global Services business unit, said the company sees an opportunity to deploy its managed services technologies and experience in the TV market.

"Broadcasters must respond to increased competition from over-the-top content providers and changing viewing habits, but many of them don't have the time, scale or infrastructure to effectively tackle technical challenges such as media asset management, multi-platform multi-screen delivery, archiving and disaster recovery," Mandersson said.

Mandersson added that the acquisition of Red Bee Media makes Ericsson a "leading provider of broadcast and media services," and makes the UK a "major global media hub" for the company.

Ericsson opened its broadcast business unit in 2007 with a deal to supply broadcast services in the Nordic region for C More (formerly Canal+). The company has since expanded the business into the Netherlands, France, Denmark, and the UK, meaning "people on all continents watch television programs prepared, managed, and broadcast by Ericsson," Mandersson added.

The EVP noted a large proportion of telecom network capacity "is now used to distribute media content to consumer devices."

Indeed, telecoms operators themselves are becoming interested in broadcast services. Ericsson was one of four technology partners that took part in a trial of LTE Broadcast technology by KPN in early May, and also participated in a previous trial of the technology conducted by Vodafone in February, which the operator said was the first test of LTE Broadcast in Europe.

Orange and EE previously also indicated an interest in deploying LTE Broadcast, with Orange conducting small scale trials, and EE planning a trial later in 2014.

For more:
- see this Ericsson acquisition announcement
- see this separate Ericsson release

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