Advanced Television

Telstra, Sky invest in Elemental

December 22, 2014

By Colin Mann

delta_video_delivery-2_copyElemental Technologies, a specialist in software-defined video solutions for multiscreen content delivery, has secured $14.5 million in series D financing led by Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications and information services company. Telstra is joined in the round by Sky, Europe’s largest entertainment company, and existing investors General Catalyst Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Voyager Capital. Elemental will use the funds to accelerate worldwide growth and expand its suite of software-defined video (SDV) solutions to support the whole of the IP video delivery chain.

Telstra is Australia’s leading mobile services provider and is committed to advancing mobile networks to manage the future wireless data needs of its customers. Most recently, Telstra has begun the deployment of 4G services on new 700MHz spectrum, in addition to the wide scale introduction of LTE Advanced technology to deliver ultra-fast mobile data speeds. The telco plans to leverage the entire Elemental product line, with a specific focus on Elemental Delta for its next-generation content delivery services.

Elemental Delta combines just-in-time (JIT) packaging, origin services, intelligent caching, dynamic ad insertion and replacement, and end-to-end encrypted content protection functions in a single solution. The award-winning video delivery platform helps media companies and content distributors reduce content delivery network (CDN) cost and complexity.

“With its software-defined video processing and delivery solutions, Elemental is at the forefront of video delivery and the evolution of content monetization. Our investment in Elemental will enable Telstra to create value for our global media customers,” said Mark Sherman, Global Enterprise and Services Managing Director, Ventures, for Telstra. “Elemental’s unique offer provides the flexibility and scalability to ensure a great customer experience despite high network traffic demands.”

Elemental Delta, which was announced at IBC in September 2014, is already gaining significant momentum and is the company’s fastest growing product introduction. In just three months, major telcos, OTT, broadcast, satellite and mobile operators in the US, Europe, Asia, and Middle East have deployed the IP video solution to deliver premium content.

“This investment round led by Telstra, combined with the funding participation by Sky and our accelerated growth to more than 600 customers, illustrates the momentum behind our vision for software-defined video,” said Sam Blackman, CEO and Co-founder for Elemental. “We are thrilled to partner with Telstra and Sky, two of the most technologically advanced operators on the planet. Elemental’s SDV platform combined with Telstra’s world-class wired and mobile networks will set the standard for a new generation of flexible and scalable video services.”

Sky has made a $4 million equity investment, building on Sky’s existing commercial relationship with Elemental for Sky Go and enables Sky to tap into the company’s experience and expertise in building flexible software solutions to enable next-generation IP video delivery. In addition to an ongoing commercial relationship, Sky will have strategic access to the Elemental leadership team, which will help inform Sky’s long-term understanding and insight into future OTT developments.

For Elemental, the relationship with Sky will give the company valuable access to an entertainment company that is at the forefront of multi-platform, multi-device video – delivering OTT content at scale to millions of customers. This will bring commercial benefits through the practical application of Elemental’s technology and as well as strategic benefits, with Sky providing a content owner’s perspective on the future development of multi-platform viewing.

According to Emma Lloyd, Sky’s Director of Corporate Business Development and Startup investments, Internet-delivered video is fundamental to Sky’s business and will continue to grow in importance as more and more customers access content across multiple screens and devices. “By investing in Elemental, we not only strengthen our existing commercial partnership, but we have the opportunity to share perspectives and insight into how the combination of new technologies and changing customer demands will shape the video landscape of the future,” she advised.

Blackman said that as the video industry transitioned to a keen focus on the viewer, Sky was defining what high-quality video on any device could be. “We’re pleased that our implementation of software-defined video is resonating across the industry and has the economic and strategic support of an industry leader like Sky,” he added.

The partnership with Elemental builds on Sky’s ongoing programme of investing in innovative start-ups. It follows recent investments in the cross-platform network Whistle Sports; online video aggregator Pluto.TV, and US ad tech firm Sharethrough.

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