Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Vizrt buys NewTek

Vizrt’s 2019 showreel. The real-time broadcast graphics firm has just acquired LightWave developer NewTek, although the focus of the deal is NewTek’s own broadcast technologies rather than LightWave itself.

Real-time broadcast graphics firm Vizrt has acquired NewTek. The terms of the deal, a stock purchase agreement with NewTek founder and chairman Tim Jenison, were not disclosed.

NewTek president and CTO Andrew Cross will become president of R&D at the combined company.

The two companies will announce more details about the buyout at NAB 2019 this weekend.

A deal focused on broadcast technology, not LightWave
Although most CG Channel readers will be familiar with NewTek through LightWave, its veteran 3D animation software, the bulk of the company’s business is broadcast production.

Key products have included video editing and production systen Video Toaster – of which LightWave was originally part – and its successor, TriCaster.

More recently, the firm was responsible for the NDI (Network Device Interface) protocol for interconnecting broadcast hardware and software.

The official announcement focuses on this side of the business, pitching the merged company as “the driving force in the transition to IP video for live production … [combining] the brilliant minds that invented the NDI protocol with the innovators that invented template-driven real-time graphics”.

LightWave isn’t mentioned in the announcement, and – given that its user base comes largely from offline VFX and CG production – doesn’t seem likely to have been a major draw for Vizrt.

However, there is potentially some synergy with Vizrt’s products, which include real-time 3D graphics and rendering tools.

‘Not about NewTek becoming Vizrt’
Posting on NewTek’s TriCaster forum, Andrew Cross described the two companies as sharing a belief in software-based real-time broadcast systems.

“People worried that Viz will change NewTek (or we will change Viz) are both wrong,” he wrote.

“Us coming together is not about NewTek becoming Viz or Viz becoming NewTek. This is about building a company that sees the future of video as one based on computers, software and networks.”

Cross also commented that: “I feel like our products, including NDI, are my children. Those things are not going to change.”

Updated 3 April 2019: NewTek has posted about the acquisition on the LightWave blog.

The post repeats the line taken in the initial announcement that “Vizrt and NewTek are essentially complementary companies” and states that “putting them together creates virtually no redundancies”.

It also states that development and marketing of LightWave remains “unchanged” and that “our goal … remains to increase the success of the product through thoughtful strategic innovation and development”.

Read Vizrt’s official announcement that it has acquired NewTek
(The same press release can be found on NewTek’s site)