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Thomson To Snatch Singingfish.com

Thomson multimedia has announced the signature of a letter of intent to purchase Singingfish.com, a privately-held company that helps search engines identify audio and video streams as well as MP3 audio files.

Based in Seattle, Singingfish.com specializes in identifying, categorizing and indexing streaming media and downloadable media files on broadband networks and the World Wide Web. The cash acquisition is expected to be completed shortly, once definitive agreements are signed.

"As digital content distribution grows in importance, we believe it will be critical for companies to master key technologies that let consumers easily find valuable audio and video content that they want to watch and enjoy. Singingfish.com has developed technology that helps search engines identify streamed content, a valuable asset for future broadband multimedia networks," said Don Vassel, vice president of Thomson multimedia.

The Singingfish.com acquisition is part of a larger move announced this week by Thomson multimedia to form a new business segment called Digital Media Solutions that will provide infrastructure products and services to the entertainment and media industries.

Digital Media Solutions will offer integrated application platforms designed to enable broadband distribution models for video and audio content. Singingfish.com will continue to operate as an independent, wholly-owned subsidiary with its executive team retaining responsibility for overall business and strategic direction.

"Thomson multimedia's vision in the multimedia and convergence arena so closely matched our own that it was inevitable that we would develop a closer alliance," said Singingfish.com Chief Executive Officer Mike Behlke. The acquisition gives us the opportunity to become the dominant multimedia search engine and pursue our business strategy at a greatly accelerated pace," Behlke said.

Portal sites will utilize Singingfish's technology to allow users to find content regardless of format (such as RealNetworks, Windows Media, or Apple Quicktime) across their Internet and broadband channels.

"Our approach to the challenge of streaming media search has allowed us to build a vast multimedia index in a relatively short time. We've already identified more than three million streams, and expect that number to top nine million by the end of this year. Our technology allows us not only to identify streaming media and mp3s, but actually add in a great deal of meaningful data. This enables individual streams to be more easily identified and searches to be more accurate," added Behlke.