Connecting the dots in mobile TV: Siano…DiBcom…Telegent
8/7/2011 8:51 PM EDT
Considering the total of 60 million euro (approximately $80 million) that had already poured into DiBcom by July, 2007 (that’s when DiBcom raised its series E funding), that 15.9 million-euro purchase price hints at desperation. DiBcom’s investors must have been getting pretty impatient.
According to Parrot, “DiBcom, in 2011, is forecasting around15 million euro in revenues, with a gross margin of approximately 45% and ¬- 4 million euro in EBIT. DiBcom has around 90 employees, with 50% in R&D, and offices in Europe and Asia.
Clearly, the fire sales at Telegent and DiBcom, in quick succession last month, won’t inspire much confidence in mobile TV.
Then, comes Siano’s automotive announcement.
Considering that DiBcom got its business off the ground by getting design wins in TV reception systems on the automotive market (and now that DiBcom’s new owner is interested in using DiBcom’s technology back in the automotive market), the story seems to be coming full-circle.
But more surprising to me was, according to Ironi, Siano is now getting its chip designed into home digital TV set-tops in Brazil, which adopted Japan’s ISDB-T broadcast standard. Leading up to the World Cup scheduled in Brazil in 2014, Latin America is transitioning to digital – big time.
Keep in mind that there are Japanese chip companies like Renesas Electronics offering digital TV SoCs integrated with ISDB-T demodulator. But Ironi claims that Brazil is a growing market that offers big opportunities for products at different price ranges.
Siano is also expanding its business in the emerging North American mobile ATSC (Advanced Televsion Systems Committee) market.
While Ironi acknowledges that the emerging U.S. mobile TV broadcast market is “a risk,” he also sees potential in U.S. TV broadcasters’ push for it. Asked if it is going to be a huge market, Ironi simply said his company is investing in it.
In fact, Siano, in exchange for $20 million in expansion capital financing from Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) in May, is investing in the mobile ATSC market.
Siano today claims that it holds an approximately 50% market share in China and Latin America for chipsets that allow the reception of digital TV on mobile, portable and hand-held devices.
Keeping up with the fledgling mobile-TV broadcast markets, whose geographies are spread wide and whose regulations and commercial development come with varied timing, is enough to drain any mobile-TV chip companies.
Siano has thus far raised $96 million, including four rounds of funding and the most recent $20m from JVP.
At a time that when the company has to go after so many different geographical markets and product segments (cell phones, automotive and digital home TVs), Siano’s future is still a vision that remains to be seen.