Onstream Media put out an announcement today that they are buying Infinite Conferencing. The CEO of Onstream, Randy Selman, graciously agreed totalk with me about the acquisition.
He said that Onstream Media has been looking to acquire an audio conferencing company for a number of years and had even made bids in the past that never came to fruition. Infinite Conferencing was a prime target at the current time, since they are already a reseller of Onstream's products and services and had characteristics that suited Onstream's requirements in terms of finances, staff, and operations.
I asked if Infinite's operations would be merged into the main Onstream business or if their conferencing services would continue as a separate unit. Randy told me that while they would continue to make use of the services in concert (audio conferencing and webcast production/streaming, for instance) there was no need to do a massive technical integration and Infinite would largely remain as a separate arm of the company providing the conferencing they do now.
Randy was most impressed by Infinite's online marketing channel and said that he wanted to make use of their expertise to broaden the use of it to include Onstream's complete line of digital media services.
I know Onstream mainly from its large-audience webcasting expertise, along with associated webinar services. But Randy explained that they are a complete service provider for almost anything having to do with digital communications delivered over the web. In addition to event services, they help companies with video encoding, metatagging, streaming, storage, and "monetizing" (for instance, adding advertisements before or after video content or integrating payment processing). I asked him if they have anythingto help companies with legal discovery requirements for broadcast content (a subject I wrote about last December). He said that they have turnkey services that can process an audio/video file with speech to text synthesis, index the content with keywords, and tie them back to time codes in the original archive. That should be of interest to any company making public statements throughwebcasts or webinars.
This acquisition obviously follows closely on the heels of Cisco's well publicized purchase of WebEx. I asked Randy for his thoughts on the WebEx story and how it affects Onstream Media. He pointed to Cisco's combined purchases of WebEx and social networking company Five Across as a sign that online communications of all sorts is in an immense growth phase. He thinks weare destined to see more consolidations in many different segments of the online communications/collaboration industry. And while he doesn't view the giant multi-product companies like Cisco and Microsoft as direct competitors, Randy sees a need for more digital media control and processing as a key to their continued success. "While we could lose an account to a pure-play conferencing vendor if a client wanted only one function, we are the only one-stop choice for all the technologies necessary to handle completedigital media services to produce, store, stream, and monetize the content."
Randy hinted that Onstream Media will likely continue a strategy combining organic growth with acquisitions when they see an opportunity to add new and innovative technologies dealing with digital media.
Technorati Tags: audio conferencing, Infinite Conferencing, Onstream, Onstream Media, Randy Selman, web collaboration, web conferencing, web event, webcast, webcasting, webinar