Cisco Eyes 1 Mainstream for Cloud-based Video Expansion

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4Q 2015 | IN-3885

Pay TV service providers, broadcasters, and media companies are moving to cloud-based video platforms. Cisco is expanding its cloud-based video portfolio with the recent announcement of its intention to acquire 1 Mainstream.

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Cisco Intends to Buy 1 Mainstream


In October 2015, Cisco announced its intent to acquire cloud-based video solution provider, 1 Mainstream. 1 Mainstream is a privately held startup company, which was founded in 2012. It is based in Cupertino, California and provides content providers, service providers, and broadcasters with a cloud-based media platform. 1 Mainstream video solutions enable media companies to deliver linear and on-demand content to almost any connected media device, such as digital televisions, game consoles, tablets and others. The deal is expected to close in late January, Cisco’s fiscal 2016 second quarter. Financial terms of the acquisition are yet to be disclosed. After completion of the acquisition, 1 Mainstream will become a part of Cisco’s Service Provider Video Software and Solutions Cloud Engineering Group.

1 Mainstream is a venture-capital funded company with a total of under $10 million invested.  Former executives from media companies such as Roku, Apple, and TiVo founded 1 Mainstream. DCM, Menlo Ventures, BSkyB (now Sky) and Luminari Capital are among the early investors of the company. Sky invested US$2 million in 1 Mainstream in 2013. It made an additional US$5 million investment in 1 Mainstream in March 2015.

1 Mainstream’s Key Focus is on Client-Side Technology


1 Mainstream creates TV apps for a number of OTT streaming devices including iOS and Android platforms, Apple TV, Microsoft Xbox, Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV, and Google Chromecast.  1 Mainstream technology, like similar platforms from vendors such as Accedo, helps content producers simplify the development and deployment of client UI frameworks to multiple platforms.  1 Mainstream also has some server-side technology assisting in preparing and protecting the content. 

1 Mainstream counts nearly 70 customers including leading media companies such as Sky, CBS News, Foxtel, and multichannel network Tastemade. One strong point has been its ability to deliver content to Apple TV.  Some content producers have very high expectations for Apple TV 4.0 (with an app store).  The timing of Cisco’s acquisition around the launch of Apple TV 4.0 is not coincidental–ensuring ease of delivery to Apple TV and other Streaming Media Adapters is important for Cisco’s customers. 

1 Mainstream’s FairPlay Streaming Solution provides protection of live, linear, and on-demand streaming content with full support for key rotation, device restrictions, conditional access, and concurrency heartbeat. According to 1 Mainstream, its FairPlay streaming service is supporting more than 10,000 on-demand assets and 35 24x7 linear streams. It also claims that its cloud platform is compatible with Envivio, Elemental Technologies, Unified Streaming, and Wowza encoders. Sky deployed 1 Mainstream OTT solutions for the launch of “Sky News” and “Now TV” services. 

Cisco’s Move to Add Power to Cloud-based Video Solutions


Cisco’s Service Provider Video products provide video delivery solutions to cloud, cable access, and client software and hardware products. Cisco’s video products cover a wide range of solutions including multiscreen content management, cloud-based video delivery, content security and ad management, video streaming and encoding tools client-side software, set-top boxes and gateways. Cisco’s AnyRes encoders provide encoding of live and real-time applications supporting Ultra HD. Its Virtualized Video Processing platform provides cloud-based virtualized video functions to manage encoding, multiplexing, ad splicing, encrypting, etc. to accelerate support for live, VoD, Cloud DVR, and time-shifted video services. Cisco also provides end-to-end content delivery network (CDN) products.

Recently, Cisco expressed its plan to prioritize investment in cloud video solutions with the announcement in July 2015 to sell its customer premises equipment business to Paris-based Technicolor for US$600 million. The transaction with Technicolor is expected to be completed by late 2015 or in the 1Q 2016. The acquisition of 1 Mainstream comes after Cisco expressed its commitment to focus on service provider infrastructure equipment and the cloud and software business upon completion of the sale of set-top box business.

According to Cisco, 1 Mainstream’s technology will work with Cisco’s cloud-powered Infinite Solutions (a recent rebranding of the Videoscape products). Infinite Solutions is Cisco’s cloud-based video entertainment solution, which enables service providers to deliver live, liner, on-demand and OTT TV services to multiple screens. A part of Infinite Solutions, Infinite Home is a software solution, which provides differentiated user experiences to multiple screens for providers with a cable or IPTV network, while the Infinite Video product focuses on cloud DVR and OTT applications.  Cisco has a strong backend infrastructure to provide services in the cloud and management system. This can be integrated with 1 Mainstream’s platform, which is widely deployed by major video-streaming platforms. 1 Mainstream’s apps can be integrated with Cisco’s cloud solutions for delivery of multiscreen services. Therefore, integrating the 1 Mainstream client side suite makes it easier for Cisco to easily launch end-to-end solutions to more smart devices.  Previously, Cisco had technology for a few major platforms (iOS, Android, Web, etc.) but required significant customization to reach all platforms.  With 1 Mainstream, all devices can now easily be reached.