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IBM acquires Ustream video streaming company, forms new cloud unit

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IBM is now a video streaming company.

The computing giant, which has become increasingly synonymous with its cognitive Watson property, has announced it has acquired video service provider Ustream to form a new Cloud Video Unit.

Ustream, a San Francisco-based company of over 180 employees with offices also in Los Angeles and Budapest, is well-known in the video industry.  It is, perhaps, best known for providing live game streaming services for Sony’s PlayStation 4.

“Today’s news marks a big bet for IBM’s Cloud business, as it launches a new Cloud Video Unit to address the exploding cloud-based video market,” Big Blue said in a statement. “As video rapidly evolves to become the most pervasive form of communication in the world, IBM is taking another major step forward in helping clients turn this popular medium into a business asset through the acquisition of Ustream, Inc.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be an IBM announcement without a cognitive angle, and in this case, IBM says it hopes to help businesses read and glean information from video, which the company says makes up a large portion of “dark data.”

The new unit, IBM says, will be led by Braxton Jarratt, who formerly led Clearleap, another albeit lesser-known cloud video services provider.

The unit will “combine assets from IBM R&D – including more than 1,000 patents in this space – with Ustream … Aspera and Cleversafe,” the company has announced, and is part of its push to generate as-a-service revenue.

With the deal, IBM will acquire clients including HBO, the NFL and the Discovery Channel.