Internet Broadcasting Systems Inc., a St. Paul firm that for nearly two decades has helped TV stations build and manage websites, has become the main base of a new company formed by its merger with two rivals.
This week, the merged company, renamed Lakana, is naming a management team from the three firms and starting to unify products and services that are far more complex than they were in the 1990s.
The sophistication of the systems broadcasters and other media companies are using for their digital operations drove the firms together. Consumers now see websites and mobile apps that are faster and loaded with more graphics and video than ever. But inside those systems lie even more technical work for delivering customized ads and pulling data from users to give to advertisers.
“All the technology challenges have become exponentially more complex,” said Phillip Hyun, the new president of Lakana. “It was a really good time to consolidate, to form a stronger company that can leverage all of our research and development spending and allow us to innovate a lot faster.”
The consolidator is Nexstar Broadcasting, a Texas-based owner of 107 TV stations nationwide. It picked up its first digital media firm, called Inergize, in a 2012 purchase of 10 TV stations from Newport Television. In the past year, it added Enterprise Technology Group, a Los Angeles digital firm, and Internet Broadcasting.
Hyun is the former chief executive of Enterprise Technology. Todd Carter, the technology chief at Internet Broadcasting, was named chief of operations for Lakana. Reed Varner, the head of the digital agency at Internet Broadcasting, will lead the agency side of the merged firm. Charles Im, who co-founded Enterprise Technology and led its software development, was named technology chief. Olympia Chu, finance chief at Enterprise, will take the same role at Lakana.
Before the merger, the three firms competed in the production and sale of so-called “content management” software, used by journalists to publish information to websites and apps. The Inergize product has been phased out, but executives haven’t decided when to merge the Enterprise and Internet Broadcasting platforms.
While such software yields the content that is most visible on media websites, the faster technical changes are happening with the advertising that generates revenue for media firms. Last month, Google said it would soon roll out a long-touted system for delivering personalized TV ads, a variant of the customized ads that occur online.
TV stations and other media companies don’t have the money and technical resources to keep up, Hyun said. “This phenomenon has put us in a good situation, where [customers] get a lot more cost efficiency for what is needed in digital media,” he said.