Turner – iStreamPlanet Deal Bad News For BAM

Turner Broadcasting’s agreement to acquire iStreamPlanet will likely result in Major League Baseball Advanced Media losing its contract to stream March Madness On Demand, a source told The Donohue Report on Friday.

MLBAM’s contract with Turner to stream the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament expires in 2016. iStreamPlanet has specialized in streaming live events ranging from the Super Bowl to the Olympics. Turner hopes that iStreamPlanet will be able to give it the ability to stream events “across the portfolio,” including March Madness, the source said.

The iStreamPlanet acquisition could also make it challenging for multiscreen video technology vendors such as Clearleap — which unveiled a live streaming product last December — to land Turner as a customer. Verizon Digital Media Services, which has been pitching major programmers the idea of using its content distribution platform, may also find it difficult to compete with Turner’s in-house solution.

But Broadband Directions President Will Richmond says the Turner – iStreamPlanet deal is also good news for multiscreen and OTT video tech vendors since it “underscores how important all this stuff has become.” Richmond also noted that iStream is primarily focused on live events.

“Just because Turner is diving deeper into ownership of technology for the live streaming side doesn’t mean that there still isn’t huge opportunity and huge areas for other vendors to be filling,” Richmond told The Donohue Report.

Turner was an early investor in iStreamPlanet, announcing in January 2012 that it participated in the company’s Series A funding round, which was led by Intel Capital. Turner, which has worked previously with iStreamPlanet to stream the PGA Championship, said on Friday that it acquired a majority stake in the company.

“There is no one better in the business. This partnership will expand our capabilities to offer live events within and outside of the traditional ecosystem and, by bringing iStreamPlanet’s innovative technology in-house, allow us to cultivate future business opportunities on digital platforms,” Turner Broadcasting CEO John Martin said Friday’s announcement.

An MLBAM spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.