Escenic CMS changes owners

There’s never a dull day in the Web Content and Experience Management industry. If it’s not an acquisition of a product to complement some existing functionality (Sitecore announced today their acquisition of an eCommerce vendor), it is a drastic change of ownership, as with Vizrt selling off its Escenic WCMS.

First, let’s take a little stroll down the memory lane: Vizrt acquired Escenic in 2008 in an effort to complement its digital media publishing technologies targeted at broadcasters (see our MAM research for more details). It seemed like a natural fit, but more so in theory than in practice. The company integrated some pieces of Escenic to a slew of other Vizrt products, but Vizrt continued to most actively sell its 3D graphics engine, as opposed to the WCM component, which languished a bit compared to peers.

It is likely that Escenic was not bringing the desired ROI to Vizrt. Hence, the decision to offload it to a long-time partner and distributor – CCI Europe A/S. The three-stage transaction will be conducted for a total of 4 million USD. The transaction is expected to result in a capital loss for Vizrt, estimated at 0.5 million USD. In short, Escenic remains a very nichey product.

Aarhus, Denmark-based Stibo Group owns CCI Europe, along with other subsidiaries. The company’s history is commendable, dating back to 1794 when it was founded as a Royal Charter/diocesan printing house. Since then, the company has evolved into a provider of editorial and advertising solutions for multimedia news environments. CCI’s main focus is newspaper publishers, and Escenic -- with long domain expertise in the newspaper world -- might fit better in that segment than Vizrt's base of more multimedia-oriented customers.

The culprit here is, understandably, in the following statement issued by the businesses: “Both companies are committed to ensure that current and potential Escenic and Vizrt customers will continue to receive the highest level of service.” This aspiration is great, but as the history shows, not always easily attainable.

Expect a bumpy ride in either direction: if you’re an existing Escenic or CCI customer, or if you are a prospect evaluating Escenic as your potential new CMS.

For now, the new owner promises continued support to current Escenic customers as a standalone system. CCI’s main office is in Denmark. In the US, they are based in Kennesaw, GA, in the outskirts of Atlanta. Now part of larger professional services organization at CCI, we  might see more of Escenic on the North American scene.

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