Live Interactive Broadcasting Specialist, Ustream, Nets $75 Mil in Softbank-Led Series B Funding Round

--Will Use New Funding for Expansion in Asia Pacific Region

Live Internet broadcasting service provider, Ustream, announced late Monday that it has secured $75 million in a Series B funding round that was led by Softbank of Japan, and that additional funding commitments are pending from other investors in the US and Asia. The company says that the funding will help it continue its growth in the US, and allow it to expand its presence in the Asia Pacific region where it is hoping to pursue opportunities in Japan, China, Korea and India. It says it believes that Asia presents a fertile market for its live streaming service "because of advancements in infrastructure, better mobile 3G penetration versus the US, and a rapidly growing base of Internet users." According to an article in the Financial Times, last month Ustream reached 50 million unique viewers, around 10 million of whom were from Asia. "Asia offers a significant, untapped market opportunity for streaming video," Ustream founder and CEO, John Ham, said in a prepared statement. "Softbank will enable us to develop this opportunity and deliver on our vision of live streaming video everywhere. We look forward to deploying these resources to accelerate our growth in the United States and Asia Pacific."

According to Ustream, its most significant achievements over the past year include garnering more than 3.8 million viewers for its live streaming coverage of President Obama's inauguration, and having the first live streaming application for the iPhone in the Apple App Store (note: the company says that its iPhone apps have been downloaded over 1.5 million times). In addition to enabling live one-to-many streaming, the company offers users of its service a social TV experience via its Social Stream capability, which enables real-time interactions through Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and AIM integrations.

North America