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Shaun McIver, CEO of Streamlogics (Charla Jones)
Shaun McIver, CEO of Streamlogics (Charla Jones)

Thomson Reuters to buy webcast firm Add to ...

Back in the dark ages of the late 1990s, when Shaun McIver started working in the webcasting business, most video feeds looked like the jerky computer-generated character Max Headroom.

Now, with broadcast-quality webcasts a daily part of corporate communications, and the technology spreading into a myriad of other applications, Mr. McIver has taken the opportunity to sell his growing Toronto-based webcasting company Streamlogics Inc. to Thomson Reuters Corp.

The two organizations announced Monday that Thomson Reuters' purchase of privately held Streamlogics has been completed for an undisclosed sum.

Thomson Reuters is already the biggest player in the webcasting business in the world, Mr. McIver noted; it has made a habit of buying out competitors in Germany, Hong Kong, Britain and the United States.

Streamlogics will bring with it a strong stable of clients in the financial and technology sector - including Toronto-Dominion Bank, AGF Management Ltd. and Research In Motion Ltd. It also has specialized software that allows customers to run their own webcasts in-house. And it gives Thomson Reuters a new Canadian platform.

For Streamlogics, the new parent will provide massive global resources with facilities on four continents, an existing client base of 5,000 webcast customers, and Thomson Reuters' broad range of data services.

Mr. McIver said he and his equity partners - chief technology officer David Gascoine and vice-president of business development Brian Ross - will stay on with the new parent's webcasting group.

"Many entrepreneurs think about selling a business and moving on to the next one, whereas from our perspective we're quite excited about building our careers within Thomson Reuters," Mr. McIver said.

The three men founded Streamlogics about a decade ago, after buying out the Canadian webcasting division of a company called Activate Canada. The company originally streamed television and radio as well as corporate events, but then decided to focus on business webcasts.

In contrast to the tentative approach at the start of this decade, webcasting has now become central to business communications, Mr. McIver said. The key reasons are the expansion of broadband computer technology, which allows huge data files to get to personal computers; and new streaming-media software, which allows more efficient delivery of webcasts over the Internet.

Mr. McIver said webcasting "will become even more commonplace over the next decade," moving beyond corporate communications, marketing and training. One glimpse of the future: Streamlogics is helping the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston to webcast live surgeries, to train doctors in how to perform the operations.

"It dramatically changes the way people communicate," Mr. McIver said. "It cuts down on travel and enables people to get information immediately."

And those doing the webcasting can get a treasure trove of data from those who are watching, he said. "The information that you can gather as a webcaster is just exceptional - who is watching the content, how long they are watching for, how they are interacting with surveys and polls. These are things you don't get from satellite or television or other types of communications media."

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