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Cisco announced a $5B acquisition of NDS Technologies. Cisco’s Videoscape platform was unveiled in early 2011, and provides technologies that enable telephone companies to deliver IPTV services, as well as help cable operators to deliver multiscreen video (TV Everywhere) technologies.

NDS is the leader in both the conditional access (content protection) and middleware markets, including DVRs, electronic program guides (EPGs) and Advanced Advertising. It serves international video service providers including DirecTV, Sky (BskyB,Sky Italia, Sky Deutschland), Cox Cable, Cablevision, Canal+, Kabel Deutschland , China Central TV (CCTV) and others. According to ABI Research, NDS is #1 in the worldwide conditional access markets, with (22% of revenues) as well as #1 in the worldwide middleware market (also with 22% of revenues). NDSnarrowlyleads both the conditional access and middleware markets, with Nagra / OpenTV a close second and other players withregional and/orplatform specific focusses.

Cisco’s acquisition of NDS significantly alters the marketplace for IPTV solutions and multiscreen video solutions. Traditionally, IPTV vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia-Siemens Networks have built video delivery networks and provided system integration (SI) services to operators. Middleware vendors, including NDS, Nagra, Irdeto, Motorola as well as Cisco (in the North American Cable market) have focused on user-experience and software that runs on set-top boxes. The combination of Cisco and NDS creates a more comprehensive offering, including both video delivery as well as customer-facing middleware technologies.

Cisco and NDS are complementary from a technology and market platform. Cisco excels in the North American cable market and has some traction in IP video systems. NDS excels in satellite markets worldwide, and has a good footprint in cable in rapidly growing India & China. From a technology side, Cisco excels at the headend and video delivery, while NDS’s technologies are more consumer-facing.

This acquisition will create a more complete offering that that provided by other vendors and will give Cisco additional traction in IPTV and multiscreen markets.