September 23, 2022 By Vaseline

Imax acquires streaming technology company Ssimwave – Deadline

imax corp has acquired Ssimwave, an Ontario-based AI-driven technology company whose clients include media giants from Disney and Paramount Global to Warner Bros. Discovery and NBCU parent Comcast. It’s a $21 million cash and stock deal.

Imax has also partnered with Ssimwave, an expert in enhancing visual on-demand and live images for broadcast and streaming across devices, from an Imax big screen to a phone.

The purchase is for $18.5 million in cash and $2.5 million in stock. There is an additional earnout consideration of US$4 million contingent on the achievement of certain operating performance and financial targets. Imax said the acquisition is expected to have “minimal financial impact” in 2022 and be profitable in 2023.

Founded at the University of Waterloo (the Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor is one of the largest in North America after Silicon Valley), Ssimwave is not far from Imax’s Canadian headquarters.

“The fact of the matter is, we’re not a theater exhibitor, we’re a technology licensing company,” Rich Gelfond, CEO of Imax, told Deadline. He had predicted a turning point, noting on a recent earnings call that “Imax 3.0” would emphasize the technical side of the business and the brand.

In the short term, Gelfond said, Ssimwave will generate new recurring revenue, and Imax will help it expand its business and product range internationally. Longer term, it’s about “new solutions for cross-platform delivery of Imax-quality video experiences around the world” as Imax integrates Ssimwave engineers into many of its development projects.

Video optimization can be complicated and expensive, but has never been more critical as consumption explodes across platforms and in higher resolutions – including 4K, 8k and new interactive experiences in games, VR, AR and the Metaverse. Filmmakers and creators are also looking for solutions to ensure the fidelity and quality of their work on any screen.

The Ssimwave team “has mapped the human visual system to produce one of the most accurate measures of perceptual quality,” which applies its AI-driven software to enhance video streams and files in real time, according to today’s announcement. Its Video Experience Automation Platform is used by leading Hollywood studios to troubleshoot video issues across all files and streams and assess video quality at scale. It lowers costs and provides a more consistent experience regardless of the playback device or network.

Ssimwave, which launched in 2013, won a 2020 Technology & Engineering Emmy Award and a 2015 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering. It was winner of Best New Streaming Technology at the NAB Show Product of the Year Awards in 2022 and 2021.

The company’s technology is protected by 50 patents worldwide and additional patents pending.

“Ssimwave has a brilliant team of engineers, technologists and academics obsessed with image quality who are at the forefront of Ontario’s thriving tech community. The similarities between this company and Imax when we acquired it nearly 30 years ago are uncanny,” Gelfond said. “We look forward to scaling Ssimwave’s business and taking it in unprecedented directions around the world, just as we have done with Imax’s breakthrough projection technology.”

He said the acquisition builds on Imax’s cross-platform expansion with Imax Enhanced, which brings the Imax experience to streaming entertainment with exclusive enhanced aspect ratio, digitally remastered content and signature sound.

“Viewers and content creators expect more from video experiences. By joining Imax, Ssimwave will be even better positioned to deliver on the creators’ intentions and bring rich, differentiated viewing experiences to millions of users across platforms,” ​​said Dr. Abdul Rehman, CEO of Ssimwave. “We are excited to join Imax and benefit from its global reach and expertise as more streamers turn to Ssimwave to ensure the best viewing experiences while reducing bandwidth costs.”