Google Acquires Broadband Video Platform Provider, Episodic

--Episodic's Platform Includes a Range of Monetization Capabilities
--Hulu Claims to Have Been Profitable for Past Two Quarters

Broadband video platform provider, Episodic (note: among other projects, the company has worked with BitGravity to produce an online interactive TV service, called "Strikeforce: All Access," for Showtime Networks--see the articles published on itvt.com, April 9th, August 12th and December 22nd, 2009), announced on its corporate blog last week that it has been acquired by Google, the company which last year was rumored to be eying rival Brightcove. Episodic claims to offer a comprehensive platform for distributing live and on-demand video to the Web and to any Web-enabled device. Among other things, the platform lets publishers and marketers host, stream, measure and monetize video content, Episodic says. Google is widely believed to be planning to incorporate these capabilities--particularly those having to do with monetization of content--into YouTube, in order to make the video sharing service more attractive to professional content providers (note: more information on Episodic's monetization capabilities, which include credit card payments and ad insertion, is available here)--and thus capable of competing more effectively in the professional content arena against network-backed broadband video service, Hulu, which now claims to be turning a profit (see below).

According to Episodic's blog post (attributed to co-founders, Noam Lovinsky and Matias Cudich), the deal will see its team "join[ing] Google and continu[ing] its work to bring a great video experience to the Web, mobile phones and IPTV devices." The company says that there will be no interruption in service for its existing customers, but that it has suspended new account sign-ups "for the time being." Google has issued the following statement on the acquisition: "We were impressed by the Episodic team, the vision they have for Internet video, and the progress they have made in bringing a great video experience to the Web. Online video should be engaging, entertaining, informative, and effective. Both Episodic and Google place value on creating a great experience for viewers and on delivering a powerful and flexible platform for publishers, marketers, and advertisers."

In related news: Hulu claims to have generated over $100 million in revenue last year, and to have been profitable in the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. It also claims that it will surpass $100 million in revenues by the middle of this year. All Things Digital's Peter Kafka has more.

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