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Discreet and Media 100 -- What Does the Purchase Mean to the Streaming Industry?

The Good, The Bad, and The Internet By Stephen Schleicher
Media 100 and Discreet -- the Good, the Bad, and the InternetSurprising news to many this morning was discreet (a division of AutoDesk) announcing the purchase of the Cleaner software line from Media 100. The purchase by discreet included Cleaner 5, Cleaner EZ, Cleaner Live, Charger and SuperCharger -- and the editing and dynamic streaming media production software of CineStream, EventStream technology, EditDV, and IntroDV. Discreet was able to pick up the entire line for a mere $16 million, and while it may seem like bad news for Media 100, they made the surprise unofficial announcement of Pegasus later in the day (more on that in a bit). For the streaming media market, one has to ask, "How does this affect me?" Well there is good news and bad news, and some reading between the lines that needs to take place to see how all of this will fall out.

First the Good
Believe it or not, the sale of the Cleaner line to discreet is very good thing. With the downturn in the economy, apparent slowdown in the streaming market, and increased R&D costs, Media 100 was losing millions of dollars a year and continued losses could have meant the end of Cleaner all together (Media 100 is showing a loss of $6.81 million to date).

In a briefing, John Molinari, President and CEO of Media 100 said, "Streaming has been a big focus of ours, but we now have a new mission. We are near to completing a major new breakthrough that will sustain the company for many years to come."

"In the past 6 months market demand for streaming products has taken a downturn. We have seen this in our business; we have had problems achieving growth because of this downturn. This caused a conflict between our next generation design and our current market. We decided to go with our next generation design."
By making this decision it meant raising capital, which lead to the sale to discreet.

While Cleaner has been saved, one has to wonder what direction discreet will take with this purchase.

I had a few moments to talk with Phil Miller, Vice President of Product Management with AutoDesk before the Media 100 briefing. While Miller is excited about the purchase he does give credit where it is due, "Media 100 really secured the position of streaming media in the market place, but right now we are in the better position to follow through with what Media 100 started."

While Phil Miller could make no comment as to how the Cleaner line of products would be integrated into the discreet line of products, he did say that this acquisition gives users a tool to export to the format of their choice. "For a while now 3dsmax 4 has had the ability to export to a variety of streaming formats, we now are in a position to bring that to the 2D formats as well."

The transition for these products to fully come under AutoDesk control should be complete by the end of the year. When questioned about any delays in software development or support (especially with CleanerLive), Miller commented, "We are bringing the entire Cleaner production teams over to our company. They will be located on the west coast, near our west coast office, so there should be great communication between development teams. As we see it now, there should be no downtime whatsoever during the transition."

For current users of Cleaner products, Miller had this to say, "We are ensuring that users will have support and future upgrades of the product." He could not comment on future product release dates or upgrades, but we will keep you updated when that information becomes available.

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Related Keywords:Digital webcast, Digital Media Net, discreet, AutoDesk, purchase of the Cleaner software line, Media 100, Cleaner 5, Cleaner EZ, Cleaner Live, Charger, SuperCharger, editing, dynamic streaming media production software, CineStream, EventStream technology, EditDV, IntroDV


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