IMAX Corporation announced it has acquired SSIMWAVE Inc., a leader in AI-driven video quality solutions for media and entertainment companies. The move marks a significant expansion of IMAX’s strategy to deliver the highest quality video images on any screen — to drive new, recurring revenue and grow its global leadership in entertainment technology.
The Ontario-based SSIMWAVE company delivers the greatest possible image for on-demand and live video on any device because of its proprietary, two-time Emmy(R) Award-winning technology. SSIMWAVE presently works with four of the top 10 streaming media companies in the world, including Disney, Paramount Global, and Warner Bros. Discovery, to optimize video. Its 30-person engineering team has created one of the most precise measurements of perceptual quality by mapping the human visual system, which its AI-driven software uses to improve video streams and files in real-time. The transaction is anticipated to have a little financial impact in 2022 and to be accretive in 2023.
“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 their award-winning engineering team and product suite, IMAX takes a big step toward a new horizon in our ability to deliver the best images for any creator, across every screen,”
“In the near-term, SSIMWAVE brings to IMAX new, SaaS-based revenue and a world-class client roster that tightly aligns with some of our strongest, most successful content partnerships.”
Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX.
The desire for better quality, including 4K and 8K, as well as fresh, interactive experiences in gaming, VR, AR, and the metaverse, is growing alongside the growth in video consumption across platforms. Leading filmmakers and producers are also asking for solutions to guarantee the accuracy and caliber of their work on any screen. In the near future, IMAX will collaborate with SSIMWAVE to develop its product line and business, including international expansion. In the long run, SSIMWAVE’s engineering team will collaborate with the technology and post-production teams from IMAX to create fresh approaches to delivering IMAX-caliber video experiences across platforms, globally.
“Viewers and content creators expect more from video experiences. By joining IMAX, SSIMWAVE will be even better positioned to preserve creators’ intent and enable engaging, differentiated viewing experiences to millions of users across platforms,”
“We’re excited to join IMAX and tap into its global scale and expertise as more streamers turn to SSIMWAVE to ensure the best viewing experiences while reducing bandwidth costs.”
Dr. Abdul Rehman, CEO and Co-Founder of SSIMWAVE.
More than 150 million users have benefited from SSIMWAVE’s technology, which was developed at the University of Waterloo in Ontario over billions of viewing hours. Its technology is covered by 50 issued and pending patents worldwide. The 2020 Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering have both been given to SSIMWAVE (2015). Additionally, SSIMWAVE received recognition as the 2021 and 2022 NAB Show Product of the Year Award winner for Best New Streaming Technology.
“SSIMWAVE boasts a brilliant team of engineers, technologists, and academics obsessed with image quality and on the leading edge of Ontario’s thriving tech community; the similarities between this company and IMAX when we acquired it nearly 30 years ago are uncanny,”
“We look forward to scaling SSIMWAVE’s business and taking it in never-before-imagined directions around the world just as we did with IMAX’s game-changing projection technology.”
Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX.
With IMAX Enhanced, which offers The IMAX Experience(R) to streaming entertainment with IMAX-exclusive extended aspect ratio, digitally remastered content, and distinctive sound, IMAX has already expanded across platforms. The acquisition adds to that. There are currently more than 10 million IMAX Enhanced certified devices on the market, and more than 200 IMAX Enhanced titles are accessible on streaming services all over the world, including Disney+.
In accordance with the terms of the contract, IMAX acquired SSIMWAVE for $18.5 million in cash and $2.5 million in stock, plus an additional $4 million in earnout payments, subject to meeting specific operating and financial goals.