Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sorenson Media Gets Real(Networks)! Major New Strategic Partnership

Big breaking news today for my company, Sorenson Media.  Sorenson Media and RealNetworks today announce a significant wide-ranging strategic partnership that has been in the works for quite some time (click here for the official press release announcing this Sorenson Media/RealNetworks strategic partnership).  This is not a partnership in name only.  Our two companies -- two trusted brands, each renowned for innovation and placing our customers first -- are committed to lead the way in the enterprise video live and VOD transcoding, management and online delivery market.  And, we are jointly committed to putting real resources where our mouths are.

As just one example, we will be jointly exhibiting our combined solutions later this month at the Streaming Media West conference in LA on October 30-31.  We also are together this week at Streaming Media Europe in London (at which Sorenson Media is a finalist in two separate categories for the coveted "Readers' Choice" awards).  Kirk Punches, our VP Biz Dev & Strategy, is representing us in London and is with Real -- Kirk was instrumental in making this all happen on our end.  I worked closely with Kirk on formulating this partnership -- while Scott Uomoto (who oversees the entire Helix & Consumer business at Real) and Mike Womack made it happen on Real's end.  In the words of Scott -- a great guy, apart from being smart and talented by the way:

"The RealNetworks partnership with Sorenson Media provides enterprise organizations -- from business to education to government -- with streaming media's best software and SaaS solutions.  The combination of Real's media delivery platform and Sorenson Media's encoding engine and online video platform helps customers meet their evolving and complex video needs."

Here are my thoughts.

Via this unique strategic partnership, each company -- immediately -- will provide the most comprehensive, best-in-class and battle-tested suite of desktop (live and VOD), server (live and VOD) and video transcoding, management and distribution (both on premise and in the cloud).  Sorenson's products (Squeeze Desktop/8.5, Squeeze Server, Squeeze Cloud, Sorenson 360) cover the VOD piece.  Real's products (Helix Producer, Helix Media Server, Real Player), on the other hand, cover the LIVE piece.  Together, Squeeze & Helix are recognized for delivering the highest quality, comprehensive format support, and critical ease-of-use and reliability -- backed by global support teams for the benefit of our respective customers.  We also are committed to deeper product integration via joint development.

Why Sorenson Media/RealNetworks now?

It's simple.  With the proliferation of video in this increasingly multi-screen world (and with all the related complexity in terms of format support, etc.), each company is experiencing significant customer demand for both enterprise live and VOD trancoding, management and distribution solutions. Prior to this partnership, neither company could fulfill that full demand for across-the-board live and VOD solutions. Now we can.  Immediately.  Single-sourced.  From two trusted names.

From Sorenson's perspective, why did we choose to work with RealNetworks as opposed to others?

Again, it's simple.

(1) Real's "Helix" line of enterprise "live" transcoding/streaming solutions are renown for optimizing video quality and providing broad format support -- themes that resonate with our own award-winning products;

(2) Real's products are used by some of the largest global companies and have proven themselves to operate at scale for years (something that other competing solutions cannot claim);

(3) Real uniquely has an established global enterprise sales force which will now actively market and sell Sorenson Media's products and solutions; Sorenson Media, on the other hand, has a base of hundreds of thousands of enterprise customers and video professionals; in other words, it's a perfect fit -- we historically have been significantly e-commerce driven, whereas Real's Helix sales primarily have been driven by their global enterprise sales force and channel partners;

(4) And, importantly -- and critical to our customers -- Real's live products are backed by world-class support and engineering teams.  In other words, Real shares Sorenson Media's fundamental commitment to its customers -- we always listen, and we act on their behalf.  After all, that's what it's ultimately about -- i.e., pleasing our customers by out-innovating and out-supporting.

Sorenson Media is absolutely committed to being the innovators in the VOD world.  RealNetworks shares that commitment to innovate in the LIVE world.  Cloud innovation is one critical great example. Both companies are squarely focused on the cloud -- and have differentiated cloud experience and expertise.

Now, we here at Sorenson Media absolutely have enterprise customers fully covered -- whatever their online video preparation, transformation, management, and delivery needs may be.  We now have the full slate of VOD and LIVE products.  We now have the global enterprise sales force and support organization that complements our own teams and deep customer base.  Click on this link for more on why this RealNetworks/Sorenson Media partnership is a perfect "fit" from Kirk Punches's interview with Streaming Media.

Exciting stuff.  Stay tuned for more ....