Thoughts on the Grass Valley – PubliTronic Deal, Including Press Conference Slides

Posted by Joe Zaller
Oct 13 2011

Yesterday, Grass Valley announced that it has acquired Dutch Channel-in-a-Box (CiaB) vendor PubliTronic via an online press conference.  This in an interesting move for a number of reasons, and Grass Valley did a good job of explaining its rationalize for the transaction.

During the presentation Grass Valley showed a slide deck that outlined its reasons for buying PubliTronic, provided an overview of the CiaB market opportunity and laid out its strategic objectives for this space.

Grass Valley says the broadcast market is changing more rapidly than ever, and that it is working to position itself as the “trusted transformation expert,” which can provide the appropriate mix of hardware, software and services to broadcast customers facing unprecedented change.

Grass Valley says it wants to become “the premier video technology solutions company.” This plan includes software, services, differentiated products, moving “down market” where opportunities are greater, and moving into emerging markets where there is higher growth.

The company sees integrated playout as a prime example of a fast growing, but currently underserved market. During the press conference GV said that the CiaB space is one of the fastest growing areas of the broadcast market, and that the acquisition of PubliTronic will help it go after this space, while better serving the needs of its customers.

It will be interesting to see how Grass Valley executes on this deal and deploys the PubliTronic products (now rebranded as Grass Valley K2 Edge).

There’s no doubt that Grass Valley is one of the premier brands in the broadcast industry, but many of their products such as switchers, servers and routers are hardware based and used in live production and studio applications.

Conversely, the CiaB market is all about software, and some traditionally hardware-focused companies have had a difficult time making the transition to a more software-centric approach. Of course Grass Valley’s video servers are widely deployed in the playout space, and the company undoubtedly has extensive technical expertise in this area, so maybe the transition will be smooth.

While the purchase of a 32-person playout software company is not a “bet the company” move for Grass Valley, it’s still critically important for the company to get this acquisition right.  New CEO Alain Andreoli, made it clear at IBC that he (and new GV owner Francisco Partners) sees software and services as core to the company’s future success.  The PubliTronic deal is a significant step in this direction.

There’s no doubt that the PubliTronic product offering is very capable.  However, Grass Valley is far from alone in going after the CiaB market.  Miranda, Snell, Evertz, Playbox and VSN are all vying for leadership in this space, and there are rumors that both Harris and Harmonic (Omneon) will be throwing their respective hats into this ring before NAB 2012. Expect to be hearing a lot about integrated playout / CiaB over the next six months.

At the end of the press conference Grass Valley CEO Alain Andreoli said that this deal shows that Franscisco Partners is committed to building a new Grass Valley and that it’s putting its money where its mouth is in order to do so.  It’s going to be very interesting to watch
how this shakes out over the next year or two.

The slides from the Grass Valley – PubliTronic announcement press conference (or at least most of them) are shown below.  They are worth reading as they do a good job of explaining the market dynamics, Grass Valley’s strategy, and the PubliTronic product offering.







Related Content:

More Broadcast Vendor M&A: Grass Valley Buys PubliTronic, Enters Integrated Playout / Channel-in-a-Box Market

Press Release: Grass Valley Extends Leadership in IT-based Playout Solutions with Acquisition of Integrated Playout Solutions Provider PubliTronic

Press Release: Grass Valley Announces New K2 Edge Automated, Multichannel, Integrated Playout Solution

Announcement Coming From Grass Valley

BC 2011 Trends: Cloud, Channel-in-a-Box, 3D



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