Imax Acquires Streaming Tech Company Ssimwave –

Imax Corp. has acquired Ssimwave, an Ontario-based AI-powered tech firm whose clients range from Disney and Paramount Global to Warner Bros. Media companies include Discovery and NBCU parent Comcast. It’s a $21 million cash and stock deal.

Imax has also worked with Ssimwave, which specializes in enhancing on-demand and live visual imagery for broadcast and streaming across devices from an Imax big screen to phones.

The purchase is for $18.5 million in cash and $2.5 million in stock. Additional revenue consideration of $4 million is contingent upon the achievement of certain operating performance and financial objectives. Imax said the acquisition is expected to have “minimal financial impact” in 2022 and will be completed in 2023.

Ssimwave was founded at the University of Waterloo (the Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor is the largest corridor in North America after Silicon Valley) and is not far from the Imax Canadian headquarters.

“The reality is that we’re not a theatrical exhibitor, but a technology licensing company,” Imax CEO Rich Gelfond told He offered a pivot, noting on a recent earnings call that “Imax 3.0” would emphasize the business and tech side of the brand.

In the near term, Imax said, Ssimwave will drive new recurring revenue, and Imax will help it expand its business and product suite internationally. Longer term, it’s about “new solutions to deliver Imax-quality video experiences on platforms around the world” as Imax integrates Ssimwave engineers into many of its development projects.

Video optimization can be complex and expensive but has never been more important as consumption explodes across platforms and higher resolutions — including 4K, 8k and new interactive experiences in gaming, VR, AR and the Metaverse. Filmmakers and creators are also looking for solutions to ensure fidelity and quality of their work on any screen.

Today’s announcement explains that Ssimwave’s team has “mapped the human visual system to create one of the most accurate measures of perceptual quality,” which its AI-powered software is truly capable of. Applies to expanding video streams and files in time. Its video experience automation platform is used by top Hollywood studios to solve video problems across files and streams, predicting video quality at scale. This reduces costs and provides a more consistent experience regardless of playback device or network.

Ssimwave, which launched in 2013, won a 2020 Technology and Engineering Emmy Award and a 2015 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering. It was the winner of the Best New Streaming Technology at the NAB Show Product of the Year Awards in 2022 and 2021.

The company’s technology is protected by 50 patents, and others pending, worldwide.

“Ssimwave boasts an outstanding team of engineers, technicians, and academics who are passionate about image quality and are at the leading edge of Ontario’s thriving tech community. The similarities between this company and Imax when we first saw it at approx. acquired 30 years ago, they are phenomenal,” Gelfond said. “We look forward to scaling Ssimwave’s business and taking it in never-before-imagined directions around the world, just as we did with Imax’s game-changing projection technology.”

The acquisition is based on the expansion of Imax cross-platform with Imax Enhanced, which brings the Imax experience to entertainment streaming with exclusive expanded aspect ratios, digitally remastered content, and signature sound, he said.

“Viewers and content creators expect more from video experiences. By joining Imax, Ssimwave is committed to preserving creators’ intent and enabling exciting, differentiated viewing experiences for millions of users across platforms and will also be in a better position,” said Dr. Abdul Rahman, CEO of Ssimwave. “We are excited to join Imax and leverage its global scale and expertise as more streamers turn to Ssimwave to ensure the best viewing experiences while reducing bandwidth costs.”

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