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AT&T buys Quickplay to power its DirecTV streaming services

AT&T bought DirecTV for $48.5 billion in 2015, and will launch three services later this year

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
May 16, 2016
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/4578

A few years ago, if you had told me how quickly cable companies would have embraced the idea of chord-cutting, I would never have believed you. Then Dish came out with Sling TV, which allows subscribers to watch TV on the Internet without having a cable package, and now is seems like nearly all the big cable companies are wholly embracing the future.

That includes AT&T, which bought DirecTV for $48.5 billion last year. Ahead of the launch of a series of streaming services, which will be powered by DirecTV, AT&T has decided to beef up the back end by acquiring Quickplay, a cloud-based platform providing managed services for the distribution of multi-screen video to IP-connected devices, from private equity investment firm Madison Dearborn Partners. 

Founded in 2003, Quickplay allows TV to be streamed over any device, letting companies deliver multiscreen experiences to their customers. AT&T had already been using the company's technology to support it T’s U-verse TV Everywhere, and will now be using it to power its upcoming streaming services, which were unveiled back in March. 

The new services include: DIRECTV Now, which include on-demand and live programming from many networks, plus premium add-on options;  DIRECTV Mobile, which will allow customers to stream video and made-for-digital content directly on a smartphone, regardless of the wireless provider; and DIRECTV Preview, a free, ad-supported service, which will include content from AT&T’s AUDIENCE Network, many networks and other content sources, and millennial-focused video from Otter Media, a joint venture of AT&T and The Chernin Group.

These services will not require annual contracts, satellite dishes or set-top boxes, and are expected to be available for customers in the fourth quarter of this year. 

Acquiring Quickplay will help AT&T on the back end, allowing it to deliver better quality video.

“Quickplay's multitenant IP distribution infrastructure, combined with AT&T's leading scale in IP connected end points, will allow us to host and distribute all forms of video traffic," John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, said in a statement.

"We intend to scale and operate an industry-leading video distribution platform, and viewers will get the high-quality online video viewing experience they desire."

No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but it was revealed that Quickplay’s more than 350 employees and contractors will continue to work for the company, which will also remain as a separate service, allowing it to continue to support its current customers, which include Vodafone, Samsung, Verizon, and SiriusXM,

Based in Toronto, Quickplay announced in July of last year that it had reached 1 billion addressable viewers, along with over 700 live channels and over 200,000 new VOD titles.

The company had raised over $184 million in venture funding, from investors that included General Catalyst Partners, Difference Capital, Madison Dearborn Partners, Relay Partners, and Up Capital, among others. 

(Image source: bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com)