NEW YORK and ONTARIO– IMAX Corporation announced the acquisition of SSIMWAVE Inc., a provider of AI-driven video quality solutions for media and entertainment companies.
The deal represents a significant expansion of IMAX’s strategy to deliver the highest quality video images across all screens and buildings on IMAX Enhanced, bringing The IMAX Experience to streaming entertainment.
Under the terms of the agreement, IMAX acquired SSIMWAVE for $18.5 million in cash and $2.5 million in stock with additional earn-out consideration of $4 million, subject to the achievement of certain operational and performance targets financial goals.
“SSIMWAVE is doing revolutionary work at the intersection of human visual perception and image enhancement technology. By putting the power of our global brand behind its award-winning engineering team and suite of products, IMAX takes a major step toward a new horizon in our ability to deliver the best images for every creator on every screen,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX . “In the near term, SSIMWAVE will bring IMAX new, SaaS-based revenue and a best-in-class customer list that closely aligns with some of our strongest and most successful content partnerships.”
IMAX said it will be working with SSIMWAVE in the near future to further expand its business and product range, including international expansion.
Longer-term, IMAX’s technology and post-production teams will work with SSIMWAVE’s engineering team to develop new solutions for delivering IMAX-quality video experiences across platforms around the world, the companies said.
The acquisition is part of IMAX’s strategy to deliver more cross-platform content. It currently offers IMAX Enhanced, which brings The IMAX Experience to streaming entertainment with IMAX-exclusive enhanced aspect ratio, digitally remastered content and signature sound.
More than 200 IMAX Enhanced titles are available on streaming platforms worldwide, including Disney+, and more than 10 million IMAX Enhanced-certified devices are on the market today.
Through its patented, two-time Emmy Award-winning technology, Ontario-based SSIMWAVE enables streaming and broadcast providers to deliver the best possible picture on any device for on-demand and live video, the companies said.
Four of the world’s top ten streaming media companies currently work with SSIMWAVE to optimize video, including Disney, Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery.
Its 30-strong engineering team has mapped the human visual system to create one of the most accurate measures of perceptual quality, which applies its AI-driven software to enhance video streams and files in real time.
IMAX reported that it expects the acquisition to be accretive in 2023 and have minimal financial impact in 2022.
“Viewers and content creators expect more from video experiences. By joining IMAX, SSIMWAVE will be even better positioned to deliver on the creators’ intentions and bring rich, differentiated viewing experiences to millions of users across platforms,” said Dr. Abdul Rehman, CEO and co-founder of SSIMWAVE. “We are excited to join IMAX and benefit from its global reach and expertise as more streamers turn to SSIMWAVE to ensure the best viewing experiences while reducing bandwidth costs.”
Founded at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, SSIMWAVE technology has enhanced the viewing experience of more than 150 million subscribers over billions of hours of television viewing to date. Its technology is protected by 50 patents and patents pending worldwide. SSIMWAVE has won a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award (2020) and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering (2015). SSIMWAVE was named Best New Streaming Technology Winner in both 2022 and 2021 at the NAB Show Product of the Year Awards.