Rovi is to purchase the NASDAQ-quoted Sonic Solutions in a deal worth $720 million (€548.78m). Sonic is probably best known for its Roxio DVD-burning software and its cloud-based digital media infrastructure RoxioNow, the former CinemaNow, which has been licensed to major studios and CE manufacturers for deployment in connected TVs, Blu-ray players and mobile phones. It is estimated the technology will have been deployed on over 30 million connected devices by June 2011. Sonic also owns the DivX player software, the subject of 500 million culmulative downloads.
“The digital entertainment sector is transforming at a faster rate than just a year or two ago and consumers are seeking new ways to discover and enjoy digital content, specifically premium content.” said Dave Habiger, president and CEO of Sonic Solutions. “By joining forces with Rovi, we will provide the industry with a broad range of solutions that strengthens our customers’ ability to compete as consumers’ primary source for digital entertainment. For our Hollywood studio partners, eager to expand digital delivery, the larger footprint of our combined company enables them to market their content broadly.”
Rovi is hoping the combination of its guide software and metadata with the Sonic portfolio will help grow its advertising distribution opportunity.
The purchase could be seen as a play for the market currently being tapped by TiVo, without the DVR capability of course, but there are other suppliers in this market. Alternatively, the movie download business pioneered by Netflix in the United States and Lovefilm in Europe may about to gain a new competitive edge.