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Thomson SA

Thomson SA (, ), formerly known as Thomson Multimedia is an international provider of solutions for the creation, management, delivery and access of video, for the Communication, Media and Entertainment industries. Thomson’s headquarters are located in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris. Other main office locations include Indianapolis (IN), Burbank (CA), Princeton (NJ), London (England), Rennes (France), Bangalore (India), Edegem(Belgium) and Beijing (China).

The Company’s clients include studios, broadcasters, network operators (telcos, broadband, satellite and cable operators) and a range of professional users of videos.

In 2007, the Company counted 22,000 employees around the world. The total revenue in 2007 was €5.62 billion.


Thomson is named after the electrical engineer Elihu Thomson, who was born in Manchester, England, on March 26, 1853. Thomson moved to Philadelphia at the age of 5, with his family. Thomson formed the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in 1879 with Edwin Houston. The company merged with the Edison General Electric Company to become the General Electric Company in 1892. In 1893, the Compagnie Française Thomson-Houston (CFTH) was formed in Paris, a sister company to GE in the United States. It is from this company that the modern Thomson Group would evolve.

In 1966, CFTH merged with Hotchkiss-Brandt to form Thomson-Houston-Hotchkiss-Brandt (soon renamed Thomson-Brandt). In 1968 the electronics business of Thomson-Brandt merged with Compagnie Générale de Télégraphie Sans Fil (CSF) to form Thomson-CSF. Thomson Brandt maintained a significant shareholding in this company (approximately 40%).

Consumer electronics
In 1982, both Thomson-Brandt and Thomson-CSF saw nationalization due to the efforts of François Mitterrand. Thomson-Brandt was subsequently renamed Thomson SA (Société Anonyme), and soon thereafter merged with Thomson-CSF. In 1987, the state-run Thomson bought RCA and GE Consumer Electronics from GE. In 1988 Thomson Consumer Electronics was formed, and then renamed it Thomson SA. In 1995, The French government split the consumer electronics and defence businesses of Thomson Multimedia and Thomson-CSF prior to privatisation in 1999. The company then went through a series of transactions, including with Marconi plc, before becoming Thales in 2000.

Exiting the consumer business
In 2004, Thomson set up a joint venture (TTE) with China's TCL, giving to TCL all manufacturing of RCA and Thomson television and DVD products and making TCL the global leader in TV manufacturing. (Thomson still controls the brands themselves and licenses them to TTE.) At the time, TCL was hailed as the first Chinese company to compete on the international stage with large international corporations. Thomson initially retained all marketing of TTE's products, but transferred that to TTE in 2005. In June 2005, the Videocon Group of India announced that it would acquire the color picture tube manufacturing business from Thomson SA for Euro 240m.

In December of 2006, Thomson SA agreed to sell off its Audio/Video and Accessories businesses, which includes all consumer electronics under the RCA and Thomson brands except TVs, (now part of TTE), and communications products such as cordless phones (which it will keep), to Audiovox. On October 16, 2007, Thomson SA agreed to sell its consumer electronics audio video business outside Europe including the worldwide rights to the RCA Brand for consumer electronics audio video products.

Entering the digital video business
In 2000, Thomson Multimedia purchased Technicolor from Carlton Television (owned by Carlton Communications) in the UK.

Thomson began a move into broadcast management, facilities and services market with the purchase of Corinthian Television, becoming Thomson Multimedia. In 2001, Thomson Multimedia purchased the Grass Valley Group from a private owner. Then, in 2002, Thomson Multimedia renamed itself Thomson. Thomson then purchased the Moving Picture Company from ITV. Thomson also purchased Internet startup Singingfish from private owners, but then sold Singingfish to AOL in late 2004.

In 2004, Thomson increased its stake in the Bangalore, India based company Celstream Technologies, which specializes in product engineering. Cirpack, a softswitch manufacturer, was incorporated and acquired in April 2005.

In July 2005, Thomson agreed to purchase the largest in-store television network in the United States, the independently held PRN Corporation for $285 million dollars. In December 2005, Thomson re-purchased the Broadcast & Multimedia part from Thales Group.


Frost & Sullivan awarded Thomson it’s 2007 Product Line Leadership of the Year” award to recognize the global market success of Thomson’s comprhensive line of Thomson Grass Valley broadcast and digital cinematography cameras.

  • SmartVision Award

Thomson received the “Best IPTV platform/middleware/application” award during the 2007 IPTV World Series Awards in London for SmartVision—a service management platform.


Thomson operates under four main brands servicing a variety of global markets:

  • Thomson: provider of solutions for the creation, management, delivery and access of video, for the Communication, Media & Entertainment (CME) industries
  • Thomson Grass Valley: broadcast industry equipment and services
  • Technicolor: film production, home entertainment, television broadcasting, out-of-home media and theatrical services
  • PRN: digital media solutions at retail level

Thomson uses the brand GE as well (under license) for phones in the U.S. and Canada.

In addition, the Company controls the patents and licensing of the MP3 audio codec.


Main Solutions

  • Mobile TV
  • IPTV
  • Home Networking
  • Broadcast
  • Professional Video
  • Online Video
  • Out-of-Home Networks
  • Broadcast Networks
  • Media Content Management
  • Content Security

[Products & Services]

  • Film Production
  • Theatrical Distribution
  • Home Entertainment (DVDs)
  • Television Broadcasting
  • Commercials
  • Game services
  • Broadcast
  • Post Production
  • Professional Video
  • xDSL Modems & Gateways
  • Business xDSL Gateways
  • Home Networking & Accessories
  • Set-Top Boxes
  • Cable Modems & Gateways
  • Telephony Solutions
  • Softswitches
  • SmartVision Video Service Platform
  • Distribution & Transmission
  • Tuners
  • Content Tracking and Security
  • Licensing
  • Professional Services


In December 2006, the European subsidiary of TTE closed its operations in France and TTE lost the right to use the Thomson brand on TV sold in Europe

External links

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