Amazon Acquires Elemental Technologies To Boost AWS' Video Streaming Chops

Amazon Web Services said Thursday that it has reached a deal to acquire Elemental Technologies, developer of a video-delivery platform that should beef up online content-streaming capabilities of Amazon's league-leading cloud.

The Information, a tech publication, reported that Amazon agreed to pay somewhere around $500 million for the Portland-based software developer, which makes Elemental the fifth most-expensive company the e-commerce giant has ever purchased.

Elemental, which counts major sports and entertainment properties like CNN, ESPN, HBO and the BBC as customers, is currently an Amazon Web Services partner, delivering content to TVs, laptops, smartphones and tablets from Amazon's cloud.

[Related: Overnight AWS Outage Reminds World How Important AWS Stability Really Is]

Sponsored post

Andy Jassy, senior vice president of Amazon Web Services, said in a prepared statement that the two companies will jointly work on creating "deeper technology integrations and new infrastructure offerings so that media and entertainment companies can evolve their hybrid and cloud models as they continue to innovate their services for viewers."

Kevin RisonChu, director of systems and infrastructure at Mirum Agency, a digital media agency that partners with AWS, told CRN his guess is that Amazon will use Elemental's technology to extend Amazon Elastic Transcoder, an AWS service that converts media files for playback on different kinds of devices.

Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for Amazon's cloud, wrote in the AWS blog that the two companies have been working together on shared sports and entertainment industry accounts for four years.

The acquisition will allow even closer cooperation in offering on-premise, hybrid and cloud-based solutions for delivering video from the Internet to all types of screens and devices.

Barr credited Elemental for pioneering software-based solutions for delivering video content to different types of endpoints.

Throughout the relationship, Amazon has "been impressed by their penchant for moving fast and their long-term vision for software-defined video," Barr said. "We quickly realized that we could work together to create solutions that spanned the entire video pipeline."

Elemental "powers many of the world’s most innovative app-delivered video offerings and new services like 4K TV," Barr noted.

Eric Rockwell, president and chief information officer of managed services provider CentrexIT, an AWS partner based in San Diego, heard talk of the deal while attending the VMworld conference.

"I think it has to do with Amazon's desire to enter and compete in the commercial TV business and show up as a competitor to the Comcast, Time Warners and AT&Ts of the world," he told CRN.

But Rockwell said he doesn't believe the new video technology will create many opportunities for Amazon's channel.

Elemental, on Amazon's partner page, is described as a Platform-as-a-Service that "enables video providers to rapidly deploy multiscreen offerings for live and on-demand content. The platform automatically provisions and dynamically scales any combination of Elemental's video processing, delivery, and storage services within a secure private network."