Viaccess CEO Explains Orca Acquisition

By | March 26, 2008 | Broadcasting, Feature

[Satellite News – 3-26-08] Viaccess’ recent acquisition of Israeli IPTV middleware company Orca Interactive, should boost its position in both the satellite market and the IPTV market, said François Moreau de Saint Martin, CEO of Viaccess.
    “It is not a pure IPTV story,” he said. “What we are doing now is that we are mixing the footprint of the type of product we can bring to customers. The solutions from Orca will help us get business with satellite players who want to launch hybrid services. Broadcasters will want to launch hybrid services. This acquisition will help us in the IPTV market, but it will also help us with broadcasters and satellite players who have new projects in this area. I think it will be an important solution for them as they look to gain customers.”
    Viaccess, a subsidiary of France Telecom, paid nearly $22 million for a 100 percent stake in Orca, a provider of IPTV middleware and applications for broadband network operators and service providers. Viaccess, which works with a number of companies involved with direct-to-home (DTH) platforms, will be targeting traditional satellite players with a new range of solutions.
    “We are able to take the next step with this acquisition,” said Moreau de Saint Martin. “With the acquisition of Orca we will be able to make new proposals to someone like Canal+, and see what their projects are. We are confident we will be able to gain new customers. The deal is all about integration. It will enable us to offer customers a complete suite of services.”
    Viaccess is not the first company to target the middleware space with an acquisition to go alongside traditional conditional access (CA) capabilities. NDS acquired the Canal+ Technologies middleware business MediaHighway from Thomson and the Kudelski Group acquired a controlling interest in OpenTV. However, Moreau de Saint Martin believes the acquisition of Orca is slightly different. “I understand [that] you compare these moves, since in all cases it makes the [conditional access] companies extend their footprint to provide interactivity and additional services on top of content protection,” he said. “However, the products of OpenTV and Canal+Technologies have been designed originally for a pure broadcast world, while Orca Interactive’s products have been designed to catch the full potential of the IP technologies.”
        According to ABI Research, the conditional access market is set to generate revenues of $1.4 billion in 2008 and continue to generate this level of revenues through 2013. “Cable and satellite aren’t going away, but the options now offered by new deployments of telco TV — including interactive and on-demand content, time shifting, and place shifting — are generating a buzz that drives demand for their premium content to a wider audience,” said Zippy Aima, a research analyst for ABI.

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