Adobe said it intends to buy Frame.io, a cloud video review and approval platform for $1.275 billion cash. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, the company said.
Frame.io is another section of track in Adobe's video workflow line, which includes the video editing applications Premiere Pro and After Effects. Frame.io, founded in New York in 2015, has 260 employees claims a million customers -- including Adobe itself -- using its video workflow platform, including video editors, producers, agencies and their clients.
While many digital workflows were easily ported to the cloud during the pandemic's sudden and massive transition to remote work, video teams using Adobe tools were left behind, because of the size of the files and bandwidth required. Adobe said in a statement that Frame.io will eliminate inefficiencies of "video workflows disjointed with multiple tools and communication channels being used to solicit stakeholder feedback."
"Despite having Premiere, Adobe has been historically weak in managing video -- that's because Premiere is for video production, not really the latter parts of the ecosystem that need more extensive video workflows, collaboration and distribution functionality," said Theresa Regli, an independent digital asset management analyst and consultant. "Frame.io gives Adobe capabilities in video team collaboration and management that they didn't have anywhere else in their stack."
Moving video outside of the studio
Adobe listed marketers and others outside of video studios among the eventual users of Frame.io features, and said that in the long term it plans to create more advanced collaboration workflows and embed AI to its video production technologies.
While Frame.io will reside on the Creative Cloud side of Adobe's applications along with Premiere, Photoshop and Illustrator, it will likely have uses that extend to Adobe Experience Cloud and Workfront, which it acquired last year for $1.5 billion, said Predrag Jakovljevic, an analyst at Technology Evaluation Centers.
"This will likely be used by the Experience Cloud side, including Workfront, too, once the integration is there," Jakovljevic said. "Video has been ever more important in marketing, and even in recruiting, where people can edit their video clips answering interview questions -- given that, [because of] COVID-19, no one wants to meet in person."
Jakovljevic added that on the CX side, the Frame.io acquisition puts Adobe "way ahead" of Oracle, as well as Salesforce, which hopes to foster marketing video collaboration between users and agencies with Slack integrations to come. In the midmarket, platforms such as HubSpot are partnering with third-party apps such as Vidyard and Wistia to accomplish collaboration, too.
Forrester analyst Nick Barber said Adobe's biggest challenge will be driving adoption by budget-strapped brands. But many brands have turned to video for marketing content because it is a powerful medium that draws attention on noisy channels. Frame.io will make post-production collaboration easier than it is now.
"Bringing Frame.io under the Adobe roof means video editing with colleagues will be more like collaboratively working on a Google Doc," Barber said.
Was Frame.io overpriced?
Theresa RegliIndependent analyst and consultant
The $1.275 billion price tag may have caught some industry observers off guard, especially for a company that had received just $82.2 million in funding. But Regli said Frame.io stood out in the market and grew fast because -- among other reasons -- it was better technology that was less expensive to use than its competitors.
"Frame.io has been growing fast and similarly to Creative Cloud; its user base has become huge over the last two years in particular," Regli said. "Many media asset management tools are arcane and cumbersome to use; Frame.io was a real disruptor in the video workflow and collaboration space. Adobe knows how to pay a lot for a hot tech brand, and this is another one of those cases."
"It is the time of crazy overpriced acquisitions, especially if the buyer has a great cash situation and a strong stock price," he said.
Don Fluckinger covers enterprise content management, CRM, marketing automation, e-commerce, customer service and enabling technologies for TechTarget.