Deluxe Strikes Partnership with AI/Machine Learning Company AppTek

Deluxe on March 12 announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Applications Technology LLC, a company in the artificial intelligence/machine learning space.

Deluxe has acquired a non-controlling interest in AppTek and becomes the exclusive reseller of AppTek products and services to the global media and entertainment industry.

AppTek’s suite of products allows Deluxe to offer studios and other content distributors diverse, integrated AI solutions to meet their content needs. 

“Innovative technology has always been core to the products and services that Deluxe offers,” said Chris Reynolds, EVP and GM of localization and fulfillment at Deluxe. “We’ve been working closely with AppTek for several years and have been impressed by their technology and breadth of experience.”

Reynolds said AppTek’s technologies “can provide access to content that hasn’t previously been localized, while also addressing workflow challenges for translators and other localization and creative professionals to scale more efficiently.”

“Deluxe is built upon human creativity as the cornerstone of effective storytelling and believes the use of AI can be sensibly applied to empower content translators, voice artists, and other localization professionals to further open up new markets and diverse content types to broader regions around the world,” he said.

Through this partnership, Deluxe can also offer customers and media professionals AI professional services to develop custom high-performance AI tools and models that are exclusive to them. Custom solutions can be directly integrated into a customer’s technical environment or consumed through Deluxe’s platforms. 

Chris Reynolds

For example, a live news channel may want custom ASR models built that are trained on their newscasters’ voices to improve ASR accuracy for live transmission. They may also want to offer live translation via a custom MT model that is trained on their past broadcasts so that it is fine tuned for their use. In that example, they may wish to host the ASR and MT models and infrastructure in their own environment, or they may choose to call a Deluxe API that is set up with their models for their exclusive use.

“AppTek has long believed in pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence and its real-world applications, and Deluxe brings the same passion in content transformation and accessibility,” said AppTek CEO Mudar Yaghi. “We are beyond excited to partner with a media services company that has such a rich legacy in the media and entertainment industry.”

Since being acquired by Platinum Equity acquired the business in 2020, Deluxe has made nine acquisitions and strategic partnerships. The company helps studios and film distributors prep their content for digital distribution. Founded in 1915 as a film processing lab, Deluxe soon established itself in the home entertainment business as one of the biggest DVD replicators during that format’s heyday in the early 2000s. Today, Deluxe is known as one of the only end-to-end service providers in the media and entertainment space, servicing theatrical content all the way to streaming.

Industry Association OTT.X Adds New Members

OTT.X has announced the addition of several new members: Added TV, Axinom, Bitcentral, Bright SDK, Column6, Deluxe, FilmRise, FPT, Frequency, Golden Media Group, GumGum, JW Player, Navio Networks, Proreal, Shout! Factory TV, SymphonyAI Media and Wurl. 

  • Added is a technology company that specializes in providing a cutting-edge ad serving solution for CTV and In-App advertising. 
  • Axinom provides the building blocks for developing video streaming platforms.
  • Bitcentral helps companies simplify the production, asset management, distribution, and monetization of content.
  • Bright SDK powers many large e-commerce and travel websites by indexing publicly available web data such as product prices and reviews. It uses the user device to anonymously download a few web pages from well known Internet sites.
  • Column6 provides a suite of technology, tools, and talent for complete inventory management to maximize publisher ad revenue.
  • Deluxe helps clients with everything from global cinema, content distribution, localization, and mastering to end-to-end innovation and scale across streaming, theatrical, broadcast and mobile landscapes.
  • FilmRise is a Brooklyn-based film and television studio and operator of the FilmRise Streaming Network, the world’s largest independently owned portfolio of ad-supported streaming apps and FAST channels.
  • FPT is a global technology and IT services provider headquartered in Vietnam.
  • Frequency is a Los Angeles-based software company that builds and operates Frequency Studio, a cloud-based video SaaS platform for the creation, distribution, and monetization of linear channels.
  • Golden Media Group distributes and sells film rights.
  • GumGum is a contextual-first global digital advertising platform that aims to capture consumers’ attention, without the use of personal data. 
  • JWP offers a SaaS video platform.
  • NAVIO Networks is a multi-channel distributor of 24/7 CTV linear streaming FAST channels.
  • Proreal is a boutique streaming platform, catering to niche audiences, with a strong presence in the Indian Subcontinent and worldwide, including America, Australia, Asia (esp. South Korea) and MENA.
  • Shout! Factory TV is a digital entertainment streaming service that brings cult favorites to pop culture fans.
  • SymphonyAI Media, the media and entertainment business unit of SymphonyAI, is a provider of AI-powered cloud solutions that deliver content, distributor, and customer insights to global media and entertainment organizations.
  • Wurl helps content companies, streamers, and advertisers reach consumers worldwide, enabling them to maximize revenues, expand into global markets, and grow audiences.


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Deluxe Acquires German Dubbing Studio Creative Sound Conception

Deluxe, a provider of digital and cloud-based localization and distribution solutions, has acquired German dubbing studio Creative Sound Conception Studio (CSC Studio).

Founded in 1989 by Nils Wulkop, Hamburg-based CSC Studio services content creators around the world. CSC Studio has dubbed numerous iconic movies as well as some of the most widely viewed episodic series from around the world, with a roster of more than 85 clients, according to a press release. CSC Studio will be rebranded as Deluxe Germany and will undergo a facility expansion to build out additional recording rooms to provide extensible capacity for German language dubbing for existing and new customers, according to the press release.

“With the increase in global content production, including the rise of local language original content that is being localized and distributed in more languages than ever before, this acquisition provides Deluxe with an expanded footprint and capacity to meet growing market demands.” Chris Reynolds, Deluxe’s EVP and GM of worldwide localization and fulfillment, said in a statement. “Deluxe currently has dubbing studios in Los Angeles, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona. With the addition of Deluxe Germany, we are motivated to continue expanding our owned and operated footprint through both organic expansion and additional acquisitions.”

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“My team and I are delighted to be joining the Deluxe family,” founder CSC Studio Nils Wulkop said in a statement. “Teaming up with Deluxe will benefit the industry and its growing demand for German language dubbing. With Deluxe’s immediate investment in a new facility expansion we are looking forward to increasing our capacity to support more volume and customers, while maintaining the highest levels of creative dubbing quality.”

With the backing of Platinum Equity, Deluxe has continued to focus on global expansion and investment in technology to provide enhanced service offerings to customers, and CSC Studio represents the seventh acquisition Deluxe has made since Platinum Equity acquired the business in 2020, according to the press release.

Deluxe Expands in Southeast Asia With Hire of Former Netflix Executive

Deluxe, the big global provider of digital and cloud-based solutions to content production studios and distributors, on June 23 announced that Samantha Kim has been appointed to the role of managing director, business development, APAC.

Samantha King

Kim, who will be based in Seoul, will report to Chris Reynolds, EVP and GM of worldwide localization and fulfillment. She will oversee Deluxe’s efforts to implement growth in localization and mastering in Southeast Asia, notably Korea, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia. 

“As content production becomes more global and stories and voices are resonating both locally and universally, the need for premium localization capabilities that address both the nuances and authenticities of any language has become critical,” Deluxe’s chief strategy officer, Anna Lee, said in a statement. “I am thrilled that Samantha will be spearheading our expansion in Southeast Asia, where she will continue to collaborate with our global and local clients across our studio and streaming partnerships to scale to their growing needs while delivering the highest caliber services across our end to end supply chain.”

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Kim comes to Deluxe from Netflix, where she helped establish the Korean team and drove operational strategy and execution of Korean content for global audiences. She also contributed to the successful global launch of Korean original content worldwide and built a competitive operational pipeline to introduce the streamer as a premiere destination for Korean content. In addition to her tenure at Netflix, Kim has over a decade of experience in the APAC media industry across traditional media, cable production, localization and OTT, having worked at Discovery, Iyuno and Samsung.

Deluxe Forms New Division for Physical, Virtual and Hybrid Events

Deluxe has announced the formation of a new division, Deluxe Events, that will provide content mastering, localization and distribution for physical, virtual and hybrid experiences.

“2020 challenged the way we implemented live events, and Deluxe was at the forefront of developing an elegant yet robust virtual solution,” said Anna Lee, global chief strategy officer for Deluxe. “As the theatrical experience re-emerges and physical events are gradually materializing, our content partners are seeking more innovative solutions as they navigate the evolving entertainment landscape. Deluxe is uniquely capable of pivoting to and from virtual to hybrid and purely physical experiences through our integrated content service workstream and platform capabilities.”

Deluxe, owned by Platinum Equity, says the new division expands upon its support of live theatrical events, including DCP mastering, keys and support, packaging and finishing, feature distribution, versioning, high-speed broadband delivery, on-screen promotions, social media trailers and management, trailers mastering and delivery, and advanced audio.

Virtual and hybrid events are powered by Deluxe’s cloud-based technology, Showcase, a content hub with proprietary security tools. Deluxe says Showcase delivers an immersive streaming experience that enables content owners to seamlessly, and intimately, connect with their global audiences. The technology has been successfully implemented for uninterrupted large-scale live-streaming events, including artist album launches, live event distribution, product launches, media interviews, advertiser Upfronts and FYC Campaigns. Showcase also offers clients immediate viewing data including playback counts, completion rates, as well as specific user device and region.

Deluxe in Talks to Acquire Éclair Theatrical Services

Deluxe and JMS Group Aug. 4 announced that they have entered into exclusive discussions to finalize the acquisition by Deluxe of Europe based Éclair Theatrical Services (ETS), a provider of cinema services, including mastering and electronic delivery to content production studios and distributors controlled by JMS. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Deluxe, which for years supplied DVD/Blu-ray Disc replication for studios, is owned by private equity group Platinum Equity.

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Established in 2013, ETS is a provider of digital cinema content mastering and electronic delivery for independent distributors and studio clients throughout its operating territories, which include France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, U.K. & Ireland, and North America, with additional presence in Central Europe and Latin America.

“ETS would provide us with an expanded and enhanced footprint throughout Europe and more than 3,000 cinemas in 20 territories connected to the broadband based electronic delivery network,” George Eyles, Deluxe EVP and GM of Worldwide Cinema, said in a statement.

Eyles said the acquisition would complement the company’s strategy to stay ahead of the increasing complexity and scale needs of studio clients’ day-and-date multiplatform releases, and creating a sustainable electronic delivery platform.

“After starting the business with mastering and hard drive logistics in France only, we brought together the three satellite platforms that were delivering films to European theaters, and we have recently completed the migration of our network from satellite to the much more efficient terrestrial fiber delivery,” said Jean Mizrahi, founder/CEO of JMS. “We are convinced that Deluxe can be the ideal partner for the company to take this next step. This transaction, if completed, will not only accelerate the development of ETS, but also strengthen the financial resources of the JMS Group for its future growth.”

Deluxe Expands Pact With Satellite-Based EchoStar for Digital Theatrical Movie Distribution

Deluxe and EchoStar Corp. July 8 introduced an expanded movie distribution platform for U.S. theaters that adds high-speed, terrestrial broadband and a new content management portal to the companies’ existing satellite distribution, which currently serves more than 3,000 cinemas.

Theater operators can now choose to receive content over high-speed terrestrial or satellite connectivity and gain access to cloud-based content platform from Gofilex, a Dutch-based film delivery company Deluxe recently invested in.

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“Following our acquisition of 50% ownership interest in Gofilex, we are excited to bring this innovative e-delivery platform to the U.S.,” George Eyles, EVP/GM of worldwide cinema at Deluxe, said in a statement. “With thousands of cinemas still receiving hard drives, we will proactively target these locations to provide a sustainable electronic delivery solution.”

As cinemas welcome back vaccinated moviegoers, enhanced distribution Deluxe and EchoStar gives them a competitive advantage, bringing together Deluxe’s 100+ years of movie distribution experience, with EchoStar’s managed broadband services and Gofilex’s FilmVault to search, track and support real-time, time-shifted and encore events.

“We are excited to continue our longstanding relationship with Deluxe and collectively reshape the landscape for theatrical content distribution with the addition of managed, high-speed terrestrial broadband,” Ken Carroll, EVP of EchoStar, said in a statement. “Connecting theaters to high-speed broadband, we are able to support the current and future electronic delivery needs of the industry with unmatched scale and reliability.”

Satellite operator EcoStar is owned by Charlie Ergen, who also owns Dish Network.

Separately, Deluxe announced a strategic partnership with CineSend for electronic delivery of content to cinemas in Canada. The partnership joins CineSend’s existing network with Deluxe’s electronic delivery platform to create a single fulfilment solution.

“CineSend is a natural partner for Deluxe, whose goal is to offer a compelling solution for studios and distributors with global scale,” Eyles said.

Deluxe will be installing its Gofilex software onto CineSend’s CSX hardware, which is already widely deployed in cinemas across Canada.

Eric Rosset, VP of business development at CineSend, welcomed the announcement.

“Plugging our solution into a worldwide network makes perfect sense,” Rosset said in a statement. “The real winners are Hollywood studio clients whose distribution strategies are global in nature.”

CineSend will continue to provide its distribution services to film festivals, airlines, and diverse businesses with secure video streaming needs. Deluxe and CineSend will be working with the market to integrate the electronic delivery solution in Canada in the coming months.

Deluxe Buys Into Venture for Electronic Delivery of Content to Cinemas

Motion Picture Solutions (MPS) June 2 announced the sale of 50% of the Gofilex business to Deluxe, a global provider of solutions to the world’s leading content production studios and distributors.

Netherlands-based Gofilex is a market-leading electronic delivery provider with a network of more than 3,000 sites across 36 territories. The sale unites Deluxe and MPS in a joint venture to provide world-class IP delivery through a single, sustainable electronic fulfillment platform.

“Gofilex has proven to be highly capable and innovative over the past decade, notably driving broadband delivery of movies to cinemas, and enabling live streaming of event-based cinema. Our colleagues at MPS successfully migrated their own electronic distribution activities to Gofilex technology — a powerful endorsement of Gofilex’s e-delivery capability,” George Eyles, Deluxe EVP and GM of worldwide cinema, said in a statement. “Deluxe is deeply committed to promoting best-in-class technology and smart initiatives that benefit our customers while supporting the health of the theatrical industry as a whole. Rather than introduce an overlapping electronic delivery service, it is preferable for us to invest in and leverage the power of a proven technology in the form of a joint venture with MPS, ensuring we collectively provide a sustainable electronic distribution solution to the market.

“We have admired Gofilex’s diligence in deploying to sites internationally despite the crippling impact of the global pandemic. As our industry moves to a widescale re-opening, coming out of the gates with such a powerful distribution partnership will set up us, our partners, and our customers for a strong future.”

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Gofilex (GOod FILm EXploitation) was founded in 1938 to support the physical logistic needs of cinemas, originally delivering all kinds of film content and point of sale material. Traditionally working for both studios and independent distributors, in 2008 Gofilex undertook a digital transformation that has seen the company evolve into one of the film industry’s leading e-delivery and live streaming solution providers.

“We are incredibly proud that a company of Deluxe’s scale and caliber should recognize the strength of our electronic content delivery solution to such an extent that it has invested alongside our longstanding partner, MPS,” Paul Huis in ‘t Veld, managing director at Gofilex, said in a statement. “The creation of one connected delivery technology represents an acknowledgement of the hard work and time our team and the team at MPS have invested over the past years. We at Gofilex look forward to expanding our solution into new territories, whilst maintaining our strong relationship in current markets and tailoring our service to suit the needs of customers wherever they are.”

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MPS is a leading international film services company with technologies that support distributors and exhibitors at all stages of the movie delivery chain.

“There are considerable advantages to the united approach that this joint venture represents,” MPS owner Ian Thomas said in a statement.“ At MPS we always knew that Gofilex’s IP delivery solution provides the efficiency and adaptability that the industry needs to face the future. Our faith in Gofilex has only been reinforced by seeing what Cathy, Paul and their team have managed to achieve in the past year. Without question, collaborating on technology that meets our needs, the needs of Deluxe, and of our collective customers internationally is the right move at such a critical juncture for global cinema.”

Deluxe Acquires Sony New Media Solutions

Deluxe has acquired Sony New Media Solutions, the latter offering media engineering, operations, fulfillment, asset and metadata management to the entertainment industry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A former leader in packaged-media replication, privately held Deluxe has evolved into a software company that enables content holders to digitally distribute content to third-party vendors and over-the-top video platforms.

This deal brings together two advanced digital media supply chain platforms and leading media and technology industry talents, to deliver a fully integrated supply chain management system and service offering, designed specifically for distribution at scale. By integrating Sony NMS into Deluxe’s existing solutions portfolio, customers will have access to a comprehensive suite of services and technologies covering all aspects of media distribution and localization, across all distribution outlets — from streaming and broadcast platforms to physical media and theatrical exhibition.

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“This is an important opportunity for Sony Pictures to extend [its] partnership and work even closer with a key supplier,” Carrie Ferman, SVP of M&A and corporate development for Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in a statement. “As we continue to evolve our digital media supply chain, we are excited to see Deluxe blazing a trail into the future of our industry.”


Deluxe Taps Lena Wasikowski as SVP, Global Account Strategy and Business Development

Lena Wasikowski has been appointed SVP of global account strategy and business development at Deluxe, a global provider of digital and cloud-based solutions to content production studios and distributors.

Wasikowski will report directly to Deluxe chief strategy officer Anna Lee, and will be responsible for implementing growth across global studio partnerships, as well as expanding SVOD platform relationships, cultivating existing client relationships, and strategizing new opportunities in ancillary businesses.

Lena Wasikowski

“Lena has the perfect combination of multimedia knowledge, entertainment-insider expertise, and business acumen that will ensure that Deluxe can maximize on opportunities and continue to evolve through operational innovations and strategic partnerships,” Lee said.

Wasikowski joins Deluxe from WarnerMedia, where she most recently served as VP of global client relations and content distribution. In that capacity, she led the teams responsible for delivering WarnerMedia content to global servicing partners and retailers worldwide. Wasikowski also played a lead role in the creation and establishment of servicing protocols for industry standard specs and next generation technologies while at WarnerMedia.

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“I’m excited for this new chapter and honored to be joining such an iconic and innovative company that continues to shape and thrive in the ever-changing media industry,” Wasikowski said. “It’s an incredible opportunity to work with Anna Lee, especially given the new strategic direction she’s taking the company, and I’m looking forward to joining the extraordinary team that steers the company’s development and progression.”