WideOrbit acquires Abacast

By on Jun, 9 2014 with Comments 0

WideOrbitAbacastWideOrbit, provider of advertising management software for media companies, has acquired Abacast, a leading provider of streaming, live and on demand ad insertion and monetization solutions for digital radio. This acquisition is part of an ongoing initiative to expand WideOrbit’s digital offering for major media companies.

Abacast was founded in 2000 and offers an innovative, end-to-end monetization platform for digital audio services of all types. Clarity, the company’s core solution, is a cloud-based digital radio solution that enables profitable online radio streaming for terrestrial broadcasters, pure play broadcasters, as well as podcasters. Used by over 1,500 online radio stations and hundreds of podcasts, Clarity’s centralized and comprehensive solution enables digital audio services to get more out of their digital inventory and quickly maximize their profits.

The Abacast solutions will be part of an expanded WideOrbit digital product line that currently includes the recently acquired Fivia AdFront solution and WO Traffic – Internet Orders. Fivia AdFront is a comprehensive solution for managing digital ad sales, inventory, orders and billing for major media companies that span TV, Radio, Digital Print and Cable Networks, and Internet Service Providers. WO Traffic – Internet Orders is the industry’s only ad management solution for major broadcast companies that allows spot and digital to be managed together in the same system, from order entry through to invoicing. These two frontend digital ad management solutions will incorporate Abacast’s digital streaming and monetization platform to provide a comprehensive, single-vendor, non-linear solution for WideOrbit’s media clients, allowing them to effectively and profitably manage advertising across all media platforms.

“The Abacast team is excited to be joining WideOrbit,” said Rob Green, CEO of Abacast. “WideOrbit is a recognized leader in the media industry with extraordinary vision and a proven record of providing superior solutions to their customers. With WideOrbit’s active initiative to provide major media clients with an end-to-end solution for managing digital ad operations, we are pleased that our employees and our synergistic technologies will play a key role in seeing the plan through to fruition. Additionally, Abacast will enhance WideOrbit’s extensive knowledgebase to ensure that we continue to provide innovative solutions and a superior level of support to our current customers.”

WideOrbit has seen a distinct rise in the demand for its digital solutions as clients have expanded increasingly into non-linear. In February, Borrell Associates forecasted a 22% rise in digital ad revenue in radio by the end of 2014.

“We are keenly aware of the opportunities that our clients have to participate in the growth of digital ad sales,” said Will Offeman, EVP of Engineering at WideOrbit. “We are committed to providing solutions that not only support these revenue opportunities but allow our clients to capitalize and grow non-linear revenue streams. From the initial proposal of business, through delivery, invoicing and superior analytics, we are now providing the premier, integrated end-to-end solution in the market. The addition of Abacast solidifies our position in the radio market.”

Eric Mathewson, Founder and CEO of WideOrbit added, “We are very excited to welcome the Abacast team to WideOrbit. Abacast has a strong position in the market as a leader in streaming solutions for radio and a solid reputation for providing excellent support to its clients. Having core technology for streaming and traditional broadcast radio under one roof will provide significant advantages to our clients.”

Abacast will operate as a fully owned subsidiary of WideOrbit. As part of the acquisition, WideOrbit will be maintaining the Abacast offices in Vancouver, Washington. Financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Wide Orbit issued a Q&A sheet:

GENERAL INFORMATION:

  • WideOrbit is pleased to announce its acquisition of Abacast, which will continue operations as a wholly owned subsidiary of WideOrbit.
  • The acquisition will help expand WideOrbit’s digital offering by providing a live and an on demand ad insertion and monetization platform for digital radio.
  • The transaction closed Friday, June 6th, 2014.
  • Abacast selected WideOrbit over other potential acquirers because:
    • WideOrbit is the leader in complementary linear ad tech software – more than $24BB USD in ad spend is currently managed by WideOrbit software solutions.
    • WideOrbit is committed to expanding its current linear software offerings to deliver a comprehensive solution set including non-linear ad operations. This will allow major media companies to manage both linear and non-linear advertising operations on a single platform efficiently and profitably.
    • WideOrbit’s strong technical, sales and customer support reputation and capabilities.
    • WideOrbit’s financial strength and extensive client list.
    • Abacast was founded in 2000 and currently serves over 200 customers, which include terrestrial radio broadcasters, Internet webcasters and podcasters, and more than 1,500 stations. Clarity®, the company’s cloud-based digital radio solution, enables profitable online radio streaming and features patented live and on-demand ad insertion, campaign management and reporting for in-stream audio ads, companion banner ads, pre-roll videos, rotating display ads and player sponsorships. WideOrbit and Abacast share several clients, including: Entercom, Entravision, ESPN Radio, Federated Media, Good Karma Broadcasting, NPR, Three Eagles Communications Company, L&L Broadcasting and Spanish Broadcasting Systems. Additional Abacast clients include: ABC News Radio, NBC Sports Radio, Reach Media and PodcastOne.

 

  • WideOrbit is honored to add Abacast to the WideOrbit family of software solutions. WideOrbit is the leading provider of advertising management software for Media companies. WideOrbit provides innovative, proven solutions for managing the business of broadcast and cable operations – from proposal to order, scheduling to automation, billing and aging. WideOrbit has been helping clients since 1999, delivering high ROI, greater efficiencies and revenue optimization. More than 2,600 Television stations, Radio stations and Media Networks around the globe use WideOrbit Traffic software and another 3,200+ stations operate on WideOrbit Radio Automation platforms. WideOrbit software manages more than $24 billion in advertising revenue annually. Clients include: Bell Media, Corus Entertainment, DirecTV, Entercom Communications, Fox Sports, Galavision, Gannett Co., Hearst Television, Madison Square Garden, Meredith Corporation, Midwest Communications, NBCUniversal, NHL Networks, Rogers Communications, Scripps Television Group, Tribune, Yankee Entertainment Sports, Univision and more than 300 other major media organizations. WideOrbit is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Seattle; Denver; Dallas; Birmingham, AL; Agawam, MA and Paris, France, and with the addition of Abacast, Vancouver, WA.

 

WHY IS WIDEORBIT ACQUIRING ABACAST? WHAT’S THE BIG PICTURE?

WideOrbit is acquiring Abacast because of its unique, advanced technology and excellent reputation for providing robust digital ad insertion and monetization technology. WideOrbit is keenly focused on investing heavily in growing its digital capabilities to help its major media clients expand their businesses to include non-linear advertising. The Abacast solution plays a key role in this initiative and the Abacast team will be an integral part of helping WideOrbit develop a full-featured and comprehensive digital offering that will be tightly integrated with our current solutions. Our goal is to offer our clients the best possible solutions for easily, effectively and profitably managing advertising across all media platforms.

HOW WILL ABACAST CUSTOMERS BE AFFECTED BY THIS ACQUISITION?

Abacast customers will receive the same high quality service they are currently enjoying. All of Abacast’s employees have joined the WideOrbit team so there will be no disruption in ongoing support and product development for customers and partners. Abacast email addresses and phone numbers will remain the same for the time being.  Abacast customers will not be negatively affected in any way. Also, WideOrbit plans to hire aggressively to augment the Abacast team to improve on Abacast’s ability to respond to both current and future technology requirements for their clients.

WILL WIDEORBIT CONTINUE TO SELL ABACAST PRODUCTS?

Yes, WideOrbit will continue to sell Abacast products. As we continue to develop and expand our digital offering, WideOrbit will create an end-to-end non-linear ad management solution that is fully integrated with our linear solutions. WideOrbit remains committed to providing the most robust and comprehensive solutions to help our clients manage operations across both linear and non-linear advertising efficiently and profitably.

HOW WILL WIDEORBIT SUPPORT THE ABACAST PRODUCTS NOW AND IN THE FUTURE?

The Abacast team will continue development and support of its product line out of the Vancouver, Washington offices which are located outside Portland, Oregon. Looking ahead, WideOrbit intends to aggressively grow the digital development and support team as it continues to expand its digital offering and clients can expect to receive the same superior level of quality support for which Abacast is known.

HOW WILL THE ACQUISITION AFFECT EXISTING ABACAST PARTNERS?

WideOrbit already has strong relationships with many of the existing Abacast partners and plans to maintain and improve the other partner relationships.

WILL WIDEORBIT CONTINUE TO INTEGRATE WITH OTHER STREAMING VENDORS?

WideOrbit is an open system and committed to developing software and integrations that meet customer needs. WideOrbit currently has integrations with more than 100 different companies across its various product lines and we expect to continue to expand our integrations with other vendors in the future. We are committed to providing the best possible technologies and services under the WideOrbit umbrella and will continue to work tirelessly towards this goal.

HOW WILL THE ACQUISITION AFFECT CURRENT WIDEORBIT CUSTOMERS?

Current WideOrbit customers can expect to benefit greatly from the Abacast acquisition. More than 100 customers who are live or expected to go live on WO Traffic – Internet Orders as well as the many clients using the WideOrbit owned Fivia AdFront® platform will gain the talent and expertise that the experienced Abacast team will bring to the digital solutions organization.

WILL THERE BE ANY CHANGES IN THE CURRENT WIDEORBIT PRODUCT LINE DUE TO THIS ACQUISITION?

WideOrbit has acquired Abacast as part of a large initiative to expand WideOrbit’s digital offering. This acquisition will serve to enhance the current WideOrbit product line for radio with advanced live and on demand digital streaming capabilities.

ARE ABACAST CLARITY® AND WO TRAFFIC – INTERNET ORDERS OR FIVIA ADFRONT® SIMILAR PRODUCTS? HOW DOES ABACAST CLARITY® FIT INTO WIDEORBIT’S CURRENT DIGITAL OFFERINGS?

No, they are quite different and they are complimentary solutions. Abacast is an end-to-end, cloud-based ad insertion and monetization platform that provides profitable online radio streaming and features live and on-demand ad insertion, campaign management and reporting for in-stream audio ads, companion banner ads, pre-roll videos, rotating display ads and player sponsorships. WO Traffic – Internet Orders and the Fivia AdFront® platform are front end solutions that manage the sales, traffic, inventory tracking and revenue management for a client’s digital or non-linear ad business. The solutions will work together to create an end-to-end solution for managing digital ad operations and they will be fully integrated for closed-loop tracking, reporting and invoicing together with a client’s linear ad business.

WHEN WILL THE ABACAST SOLUTION BE FULLY INTEGRATED WITH WIDEORBIT PRODUCTS?

We are actively working on integrations and will communicate more about this in the near future.

HOW MANY EMPLOYEES DOES ABACAST HAVE?

WideOrbit is excited to have all of Abacast’s 16 employees join our team. With these additional team members, WideOrbit will have more than 420 employees globally.

HOW WILL THE ACQUISITION IMPACT ABACAST EMPLOYEES?

After welcoming all Abacast employees to the WideOrbit family, we’ll be intensely focused on ensuring a positive transition experience for them. To that end, we are retaining the current physical offices in Vancouver, Washington and expect to expand operations as we continue to focus on growing our digital team and product offering. We recognize that we have much to gain from the Abacast team’s expertise and look forward to merging the talents of all team members focused on digital solutions in an effort to produce the best possible digital offering to our customers.

DOES WIDEORBIT ANTICIPATE ANY LAYOFFS SURROUNDING THE ACQUISITION?

No. WideOrbit is a rapidly growing organization and there will not be any layoffs surrounding the acquisition. We are planning to add all of the experienced Abacast team to WideOrbit. We are also excited to continue to expand our digital team.

WILL WIDEORBIT MAINTAIN ABACAST’S EXISTING MANAGEMENT TEAM?

Yes, the entire Abacast management team is joining WideOrbit and will take leading roles on the digital solutions team, specifically the Streaming solutions division:

Rob Green – Vice President, Streaming – Rob has been with Abacast since 2007 and served as CEO since October 2010. He brought the company through what he referred to as its re-launch in 2012. Rob brings over 20 years of senior management experience with industry leading technology companies such as Microsoft, Nine Systems, Buy DRM, Imagine Communications, and Sterling Commerce (IBM).

John Morris – Senior Director of Engineering, Streaming – John came to Abacast in 2001 to build Abacast’s first software test lab and developed the company’s patented and patent-pending technologies. His pragmatic approach to technology and management has greatly contributed to the creation of Abacast’s industry-leading ad insertion and distribution platform.

Jim Kott – Senior Director of Product Management, Streaming – Jim joined Abacast in 2008 after taking his previous company, Tukati, a SaaS platform for digital media distribution, through a successful acquisition. Jim brings over 17 years of experience in technology, 11 in digital solutions.

WHO WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERSEEING THE ABACAST BUSINESS IN THE FUTURE?

The current Abacast management team.

WILL WIDEORBIT KEEP THE ABACAST NAME?

Yes. The Abacast name will be retained for the immediate future and will be regarded as: Abacast, a WideOrbit Company.

WHAT ARE THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE TRANSACTION?

WideOrbit and Abacast are privately held companies. Financial details of the acquisition will remain private.

About The Author: Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.

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