US firm acquires Israeli TV tech pioneer for $60m

Over decades, Orad Hi-Tec developed many of the slick graphic technologies used in live broadcasting

Orad's technology in action (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Orad's technology in action (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Israeli video pioneer and Emmy Award-winning firm Orad Hi-Tec is set to be acquired by US video production giant Avid Technology.

The Israeli video tech firm will join Avid as part of its new Israeli research and development facility, which the US firm is in the midst of setting up. According to Louis Hernandez, Jr, the chairman, president, and CEO of Avid, the acquisition – valued at about $60 million – “further differentiates Avid as the partner with the most comprehensive solution, and accelerates our momentum as we enable our customers to operate more efficiently and profitably.”

Once, TV coverage of sports, concerts, elections, and the like consisted of a couple of anchorpeople sitting behind a desk reading the news, with perhaps a video screen in the background to display footage of the story. Now, viewers are used to seeing pop-up graphics, avatars, 3D images that fly across the screen, and many other video effects.

Many of those techniques were first developed by Israel’s Orad Hi-Tec, a veteran video company – established 1993 – that provides state-of-the-art real-time graphics, video servers and workflow management solutions that allow TV broadcasters to make their content more appealing, with the goal of attracting more viewers and keeping them watching. Orad has been used in nearly every major sporting event in recent years, including World Series, Super Bowls, World Cups, Olympics, etc. as well as many less prominent events.

A number of television broadcasters, especially in Central and South America, have used the Orad system for election night broadcasts, hoping to make otherwise dull contests more exciting and keeping viewers glued to their TV sets. Orad has over 600 active customers around the world, including broadcasters such as RTL, ESPN, TF1, TV Globo, CCTV, Channel 4, HBO, DW, Canal+, Turner and Televisa, among others; the company has twice won Emmy Awards for its virtual advertising and sports broadcasting enhancement tools.

Among the video “tricks” Orad has pioneered are virtual sets, slow motion replay and production servers, channel-in-a-box, sports enhancement tools, virtual advertising and cloud-based live production.

Based in Kfar Saba, Orad has approximately 240 employees – most in Israel, with several dozen at a facility in Hungary – and reported over $40 million of revenues during 2014.

“Avid has a long-standing heritage of industry leadership, and it’s clear that both Avid and Orad have a common commitment to innovation and customer success,” said Avi Sharir, CEO and president of Orad. “Our solutions are highly complementary to the Avid product suite, and together we believe we can create the most comprehensive solution for the media industry. Further, Avid’s global scale and distribution network provide significant opportunities for customer support, growth and market expansion. We are confident that joining the Avid family will create more powerful opportunities for our customers, partners, and employees.”

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