Sorenson CEO Peter Csathy Goes Hollywood to Lead Manatt Venture Fund

5/15/13Follow @bvbigelow

Carlsbad, CA-based Sorenson Media CEO Peter Csathy tells me he’s left Sorenson to become CEO of Manatt Digital Media Ventures, a venture fund and digital media business created by the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips law firm in Los Angeles.

The venture will operate as part of Manatt Digital Media, making the California law firm a one-stop shop for full-service legal and business consulting services for clients in entertainment, advertising, and digital media industries. Csathy, a serial entrepreneur and one-time media lawyer “will draw upon his experience as a successful operator and media industry executive to provide strategic business counsel, mentoring, deal-making, and evaluation of potential opportunities,” according to a statement from the Manatt law firm.

Csathy’s move might lead to good things for Sorenson, though. Csathy says he will continue to serve on the board of Sorenson Media, and is actively involved in the search for a new CEO. The founder and former CEO, Jim Sorenson, will serve as interim CEO during the search.

Manatt Digital Media plans to leverage its industry relationships with clients that range from entertainment industry “superstars” and public media companies to startups and growth-stage technology companies. Manatt says its clients “will benefit from the firm’s unrivaled access to artists, deal-making prowess and proven litigation experience, focused on protecting innovation, defending brands and mitigating risk.”

Before joining Sorenson, Csathy led several high-growth digital media ventures, including SightSpeed (acquired by Logitech in late 2008), MusicMatch (acquired by Yahoo in 2004), and eNow (acquired by AOL-TimeWarner in 2006).

Streaming media has grown exponentially in recent years, and providers of online video technology have shifted to providing cloud-based online video platforms. Sorenson has grown under Csathy—the company now has strategic partnerships with Shutterfly, Sony, Avid, and RealNetworks. But such rivals as Brightcove, Ooyala, and Kaltura continue to account for a big share of an increasingly crowded market.

While Sorenson operates its own successful managed video hosting and delivery technology, Csathy has written that it is only one component of Sorenson’s overall business model, which is focused on providing comprehensive video encoding and transcoding for enterprise customers.

“Think of us as a video-focused Accenture,” Csathy wrote in a 2011 Sorenson blog. “Enterprise customers come to us with real significant and challenging problems; we are consultative in our approach; we listen; we hear; we propose a solution to meet those needs; we build it; and we manage and service it; THAT is who we are.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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