ClearStory Systems announced on December 1, 2008 that it has been acquired, in whole, by The FeedRoom. A leading provider of online video solutions for media companies, corporations and government agencies, The FeedRoom bought–for an undisclosed sum–ClearStory Systems, a digital asset management (DAM) software provider, offering advanced capabilities for managing a full range of digital marketing assets.
The FeedRoom delivers SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings and related services to some of the world’s leading organizations including Barnes & Noble, ESPN, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, McGraw-Hill, MetLife, Yum! Brands, Coldwell Banker, General Motors, the Pentagon, and the US Marine Corps.
“Allowing us to ‘accelerate the elimination of our weaknesses’ is the ‘bumper sticker’ on the acquisition for both sides,” says Bill Sheeran, director of product management and marketing for ClearStory. “By joining our technologies as a backend platform product as well as a contemporary front end management interface, we can now provide our customers all those things they didn’t have, in a very rapid time frame.” Sheeran will retain his role as the company is acquired. Nearly all other ClearStory employees will also stay on with The FeedRoom.
“Also, our security model was highly desirable by The FeedRoom when they originally approached us 14 months ago to OEM our platform as the back end. The relationship’s blossomed from there,” says Sheeran. “As a technologist with 25 years of experience and as someone who has now experienced many of these types of acquisitions in the last 10 years, this is by far the best dovetail merger of technology that I’ve witnessed myself.”
Video asset management has evolved from being a simple online repository for video images or supporting a marketing agency, to now managing publishing processes, automating workflows and integrating a variety of different types of media content, including video, according to Sheeran, making FeedRoom’s acquisition of ClearStory an important part of its growth and continued viability. In an uncertain economy, big acquisitions may seem a bit risky, but to the folks at The FeedRoom and ClearStory Systems, it makes sense.
Sheeran says, “ClearStory has long been a disciplined, efficient software development company but was not as robust in delivering professional services and custom solutions. They’ve worked with many third party partners to deliver those extended services to their customers. The FeedRoom, on the other hand, focuses on services and deploying their customers in a tailored fashion, having a strong professional services practice. Though they’ve had very good software; they saw distinct advantages with ClearStory’s robust software development organization.”
“This acquisition has clear benefits for both parties,” adds says Mukul Krishna, global director and analyst for Frost & Sullivan North America Information & Communication Technologies Practice. “To further expand into all different media types and resources is definitely a good thing for The FeedRoom because now they can more effectively compete with any other networks they’d normally encounter.”
From ClearStory’s perspective, the market has been taking off, with many of their competitors being snapped up by large companies, according to Krishna; now both companies will be able to feed off each other’s expertise and receive much-needed resources in augmenting marketing sales. Krishna also says The FeedRoom has some very good workflow automation tools. If the companies are able to exploit those properly and integrate all the technology platforms, especially the web-flow automation, they stand a very good competitive chance for early success.
“It’s a waiting game. Right now with the way the economy is, the good thing about this technology is, though not completely recession-proof, it is no longer a leap of faith,” says Krishna. “People have tangible evidence; the value proposition is very apparent and people get it. It addresses certain key points that become that much starker during tight economic times.”
“Looking at everything, I’d assume it would take at least two to three quarters before we really start seeing a huge wrap up, due to how long product integration takes. But I’d not be surprised if they’re able to start closing some pretty good deals around the second half of 2009,” says Krishna. “In a way this is also a good time because they can spend a lot of time, without so much scrutiny, on trying to get everything integrated.”