IBM has big plans for the digital video industry, and it has announced the first roster of partners through which it will realize its ambitions. At the National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB Show) in Las Vegas, the computing company revealed deals with Comic-Con, the CBC, AOL, and Broadway Video, with whom it will work to create varying video products.
The most significant project in IBM’s online video pipeline is Comic-Con HQ, a previously-announced subscription video service launched by Comic-Con and Lionsgate. Through Clearleap, which it acquired in December 2015, IBM’s Cloud Video unit will power Comic-Con HQ. The service will be available on multiple devices and will bring viewers year-round content from the world’s most popular fan culture convention. Clearleap will also power a service for the CBC, though the Canadian broadcaster’s on-demand offering will be ad-supported rather than subscription-based. Local viewers will gain access to more than 600 titles.
As TechCrunch notes, IBM is betting big on Cloud Video to help offset losses in other areas of the its business. There is certainly a need for more companies that can build reliable on-demand video products. The best option right now, in the eyes of many content publishers, is MLB Advanced Media, which has moved beyond its baseball roots to stream everything from pro wrestling to right-wing news coverage.
IBM’s pitch to its partners highlights the strong technology the company can offer thanks to several recent acquisitions. Through Aspera, which it bought in 2013, IBM is offering a video solution called FASPstream that increases start-up speed for on-demand services. To increase the quality of its streams, IBM has turned to another one of its holdings, UStream, which it purchased for $130 million early in 2016. UStream has built a piece of software called eCDN, which reduces the strain live streaming events place on local networks. AOL and Broadway Video’s deals with IBM are centered on these offerings.
“IBM is at the forefront of the industry at a time when video is the driving influence in how organizations communicate, share information, and entertain,” said Braxton Jarratt, General Manager of IBM Cloud Video, in a press release. “Today’s announcements will be viewed as a significant milestone in the company’s cloud video strategy, as IBM makes the sharing, distribution, and management of video increasingly simple across any device.”
Comic-Con HQ will launch in beta on May 7th. The launch date for CBC’s streaming service has not yet been announced.