TiVo Owner Xperi Acquires OTT Software Firm for $109 Million

Technology company Xperi has purchased Norway-based OTT software maker Vewd for $109 million. Xperi purchased TiVo for $3 billion in December 2019, with the goal of integrating TiVo’s video UX with its smart TV expertise. Xperi intends to compete with companies like Amazon, Comcast, Google and Roku for the “gatekeeper” position in the world’s connected-TV living rooms. The Vewd deal gives Xperi access to an installed European footprint of roughly 15 million devices that it plans to target for activation of TiVo+, a free ad-supported TV (FAST) service.

Vewd provides over-the-top and hybrid TV solutions that ship in more than 30 million connected TV devices annually, Xperi said in its deal announcement.

“Xperi’s TiVo product offerings, when integrated with Vewd’s suite of streaming platform solutions, will help accelerate and scale the deployment of TiVo OS for connected TVs and expand our video-over-broadband offerings,” Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner said.

Last year, Vewd underwent a Chapter 11 restructuring, trading $118 million worth of equity for debt relief.

Next TV detailed Xperi’s various course corrections, including intent to bifurcate its intellectual property licensing and products businesses, a strategy Kirchner says the Vewd deal complements.

In October, Vewd “announced a partnership with smart-TV maker Vestel to make pay-TV operator-ready televisions designed to replace set-top boxes and compete against Comcast’s Sky Glass initiative in Europe,” notes Next TV.

Light Reading describes Vestel as “an original design manufacturer (ODM) and a major supplier of TVs for Europe with brand partners that include Panasonic, JVC, Hitachi and Toshiba.” A key result of the Vestel partnership with Vewd is Operator TV, which Xperi “is eager to explore the potential of,” writes Light Reading.

“The general idea of Operator TV is to provide operators with a way to support and deliver pay-TV services and integrated streaming offerings to customers via a connected TV rather than relying solely on separate set-top boxes or streaming dongles,” Light Reading says, comparing it to Sky Glass product, “a family of smart TVs powered by the company’s global streaming platform.”

“Taking a page from the smartphone market, Sky lets customers buy the Sky Glass sets in monthly increments and allows those customers to swap out their TVs for new, upgraded models later on,” Light Reading notes.