Najafi Companies-owned Cinram has acquired video delivery technology specialist Saffron Digital for US$47 million (€36 million) from HTC.Toronto-based Cinram is one of the largest global manufacturers and distributors of Blu-rays, DVDs and CDs. Cinram, acquired by Najafi Companies earlier this year, also provides digital and creative services through its Los Angeles-based digital media agency, 1K Studios.“Saffron Digital is an ideal partner to add to our Cinram portfolio,” said Najafi Companies CEO Jahm Najafi. “Its cloud-based digital content delivery and usage is industry-leading and adds further depth to our entertainment related investments and holdings.”“We are excited to welcome Saffron Digital into the Cinram group of companies,” said Cinram CEO Steve Brown. “In the field of Digital Rights Management, Saffron Digital has led the way, delivering a superior viewing experience across the spectrum of online devices. This acquisition enables Cinram to build on its reputation as a complete end-to-end supply chain provider to the entertainment industry within the digital, as well as physical space.”
Chinese electronics firm Haier has launched a new line of Roku TVs in the US, powered by Roku’s operating system.The 4 Series Haier Roku TVs will cost between US$300 (€270) and US$750 and will come in sizes ranging from 32-inches to 55-inches.The TVs include built-in access to the Roku Channel Store, which has more than 2,000 streaming channels, and features the Roku Feed – a new feature that lets consumers know when content becomes available to stream.The sets can be controlled from the Haier Roku TV remote control or a with the free Roku mobile app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.“Haier is focused on delivering immersive entertainment experiences, and the new Haier Roku TVs provide the ultimate in streaming features and content,” said John Homlish, senior vice president of Haier America Digital Living.Chas Smith, general manager of OEM for Roku, said: “Today’s consumers are looking for a smart TV experience that’s extremely simple and quickly gets them to the entertainment they want whenever they want it.”
Erik CarlsonDISH Network’s Erik Carlson will lead its over-the-top service, SlingTV, after Roger Lynch moved to internet radio company Pandora.Carlson will on August 31 add SlingTV to his current duties as president and COO of US-based satellite pay TV provider DISH.Current incumbent Lynch is moving to Pandora as CEO, with former Sony Pictures Television CEO Michael Lynton also joining the board.Carlson, who has spent more than two decades with DISH, will continue to report to company chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen.“Erik is positioned to fully support and grow our enterprise’s portfolio, including our Sling TV asset, as we work to connect 100% of the country through satellite, OTT, wireless and even digital over-the-air offerings,” said Ergen.A la carte service Sling launched in January 2015, and had two million subscribers at last count. It offers more than 50 US and international channels from the likes of Disney, Scripps and AMC, with customers able to pick and choose their packages.A report last week claimed ‘skinny bundle’ services such as SlingTV were posing a serious threat to the traditional, linear pay TV business.