South Africa’s Internet Solutions (IS) has enhanced its audio and video streaming capabilities following the acquisition of a significant stake in Antfarm, a local streaming media service provider, for an undisclosed amount.
According to Greg Montjoie, executive Connectivity and Carrier at IS, video content will be the key driver of the Internet economy over the next few years. “Streaming media services, particularly video content, are growing at double digit growth rates, both in the consumer and business space.”
This statement is confirmed by figures released by Cisco, in the Cisco Visual Networking Index 2013. According to the Index, there will be nearly two billion Internet video users globally, excluding mobile-only, by 2017, up from one billion Internet video users in 2012. Of this, video will account for 58% of all business-related Internet traffic in 2017, up from 31% in 2012, according to Cisco. The Index also states that business Internet video traffic will experience a 5.3-fold increase from 2012 to 2017, with content delivery networks set to carry over half of total Internet traffic by 2017.
“With this kind of exponential growth forecast a strategic acquisition of this nature was necessary to gain a significant advantage in the local industry,” he continues. “In addition, given the direction and speed at which the market is moving both companies felt that we could achieve more through an acquisition than merely maintaining the status quo in our established working relationship.”
Further strengthening the case for the deal a number of synergies already existed between the two companies, according to Montjoie.
“Antfarm’s ability to generate, digitise and monetise this content, and our ability to provision network and computing infrastructure on demand in an elastic manner through our data centre network, as well as our bandwidth capabilities, are two skill sets that perfectly complement each other. Our ability to tap into the resources and expertise offered by our parent companies, NTT and Dimension Data, will also ensure that we play a leading role in the local media streaming space going forward.”
Andrew Aitken, sales and marketing director at Antfarm, explains that the acquisition is also strategically important for the company, as it gives it the ability to expand aggressively by leveraging IS’ cloud and network infrastructure.
“Since launching in 2000, Antfarm has pioneered streaming technology and its use in South Africa, despite the bandwidth restraints in the country,” continues Aitken. “Our aim since launching has been to enable any organisation, be it media broadcasters, corporations, government or academic institutions, to share rich media content over internal networks or over the Internet, be it live or on-demand, to communicate its message to anyone, anywhere.”