IBM Cloud Video

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IBM Cloud Video
Type of site
Video streaming
Available inEnglish, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Korean
LaunchedMarch 2007; 14 years ago (2007-03)
Current statusActive
Native client(s) oniOS, Android

IBM Cloud Video (formerly Ustream) is an American live video streaming company which is a subsidiary of IBM. It is based in San Francisco, and has more than 180 employees in their San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Budapest offices. It received $11.1  million in Series A funding for new product development from Doll Capital Management (DCM) and investors Labrador Ventures and Band of Angels.[1]

Since 2016, it has been a subsidiary of IBM. On April 1, 2018, two years after its purchase, Ustream changed its name to reflect its new ownership.



Ustream was born when the founders (John Ham, Brad Hunstable, and Dr. Gyula Fehér) wanted a way for their friends in the Army, who were deployed overseas in the Iraq War, to be able to communicate with their families. A product like Ustream would provide them with a way to talk to all of their relatives at once when free time in the war zone was limited.[2]

Ustream has been used by many notable people streaming from politicians such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards,[3] to artists like Tori Amos and the Plain White T's.[4] Notable lifecasters such as iJustine and E-TARD The LifeCaster[5] have made their mark on Ustream as well. The technology community has also adopted Ustream to include Robert Scoble, Leo Laporte, and Chris Pirillo.[citation needed]


Early investors included DCM Ventures and Softbank, the latter of which invested $20  million in 2010 with an option to invest additional capital.[6][7] On January 21, 2016, IBM acquired Ustream for up to US$150 million.[8] It was combined with Aspera, Clearleap, and Cleversafe to form IBM's Cloud Video unit. IBM envisioned the use of its technology as part of an enterprise video offering.[9]

Automatic content blocking[edit]

IBM Cloud Video uses a copyright enforcement service provided by Vobile, which uses a proprietary fingerprinting system to automatically detect copyrighted content.[10][11] This system has been known to generate false positives, blocking content that should fall under fair use, or which has been specifically licensed by the stream originator. In one such incident, the official livecast of the 2012 Hugo Award ceremony was terminated because it incorporated authorized clips of nominated television shows and movies, causing "a flood of livid Twitter messages". The following day, Ustream apologized for the incident and temporarily disabled automatic blocking while they adjusted the system to "better balance the needs of broadcasters, viewers, and copyright holders".[12][13]


  1. ^ Cynopsis: Digital. April 14, 2008.
  2. ^ WebWare, Merry Christmas, Mom: Ustream links soldiers with home Archived 2008-12-01 at the Wayback Machine, December 14, 2007
  3. ^ Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (2007-11-26). "YouTube and UStream Go Political". Mashable. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  4. ^ Brad Hunstable, Founder (2007-11-16). "The Ustream.TV Blog » Blog Archive » Plain White T's Event Serves 130,000". Archived from the original on 2010-04-10. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  5. ^ "E-TARD The 24/7 LifeCaster". E-TARD.TV. September 5, 2006. Archived from the original on September 17, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  6. ^ "IBM acquires Ustream". Variety.
  7. ^ "Softbank pays $20 million for stake in Ustream".
  8. ^ Konrad, Alex. "IBM Confirms Ustream Acquisition As Part Of Cloud Video Unit Targeting "$105 Billion Opportunity"". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  9. ^ "IBM Confirms Acquisition Of UStream, Forms New Cloud Video Unit". TechCrunch. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  10. ^ Hunstable, Brad (2010-07-16). "Launch of Improved Measures to Protect Copyright Holders and Vobile Integration". Retrieved 2012-09-03.
  11. ^ "Vobile Core Technology". Archived from the original on 2013-08-05. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
  12. ^ Ha, Anthony (September 3, 2012), "Ustream Apologizes For Shutting Down The Hugo Awards Livestream, Says It Will 'Recalibrate'", TechCrunch
  13. ^ Gross, Doug (September 4, 2012), Ustream apologizes for killing Hugo Awards webcast, CNN

External links[edit]