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Avid upgrade policy question

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Michael Trenton
Avid upgrade policy question
on Feb 10, 2017 at 5:38:06 pm

Hi, I'm currently running Avid Symphony v6.0.1 which I upgraded to about 4-5 years ago.
Since I've mostly been using a Premiere Pro workflow since then I've never really had the need to upgrade my Avid license, but I'm now switching back to Avid and I would like to upgrade to the latest version of Media Composer. Is this possible?

From taking a look at the Avid website the whole upgrade and licensing process seems to have changed quite significantly since the last time I upgraded (subscriptions and annual upgrade plans and whatnot) and it all seemed a bit confusing. Then I came across this on their site:

If you have an older Media Composer perpetual license without an upgrade & support plan, now’s the time to grow your business by adding another Media Composer license. You can still use your current version, however a perpetual license without an upgrade & support plan is non-upgradable.


So does this mean I can't upgrade my current license?
Will I have to spend $1.200 to buy a new license from scratch?
And then on top of that do I have to pay $299 each year for an annual upgrade and support plan in order to keep that new license from becoming worthless again a few years down the road? How does this work really?

.


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Warren Eig
Re: Avid upgrade policy question
on Feb 10, 2017 at 6:14:28 pm

Yes. That is the case as far as I know.

Warren Eig
O 310-470-0905


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Michael Trenton
Re: Avid upgrade policy question
on Feb 10, 2017 at 6:29:59 pm

Thanks for confirming my suspicions Warren.
Not a very friendly change of upgrade policy by Avid then. It used to be if you skipped an upgrade or two all that happened was you'd pay more when upgrading, not have your license rendered worthless.
Buying a whole new license again is gonna bleed my budget dry, particularly if being forced to pay a $299 'maintenance' fee in top of that in order to keep the license from becoming worthless in a couple of years. Very dissappointing move by Avid.


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Pat Horridge
Re: Avid upgrade policy question
on Feb 11, 2017 at 9:08:28 am

Its really no different to the Adobe model. Your best bet is just to go with the monthly or yearly subscription just as you do with Adobe.
A lot of marketing and effort was spent over a long period to flag with users the need to put their old licenses on support when the change happened. And rental like Adobe was what many folks wanted.
From Avids point of view what have you put in their coffers in the last few years?

Pat Horridge
Broadcast & Post Consultant, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
Free online Tutorials at VET digital media academy online http://vimeo.com/channels/752951
pat@vet.co.uk



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Michael Trenton
Re: Avid upgrade policy question
on Feb 11, 2017 at 9:52:46 am

Its really no different to the Adobe model. Your best bet is just to go with the monthly or yearly subscription just as you do with Adobe.
A lot of marketing and effort was spent over a long period to flag with users the need to put their old licenses on support when the change happened. And rental like Adobe was what many folks wanted.
From Avids point of view what have you put in their coffers in the last few years?




I agree the subscription model per se is no different than the Adobe model so I'm not knocking them for that, but it is their changed policies regarding perpetual licenses I have a problem with here.

A perpetual license cost a lot of money and a policy that renders such a license worthless in terms of future upgrades if you are to skip only one year of their $299 support deal is what I feel is completely unfair. It's pretty much a perpetual + $299 subscription deal in my eyes and not a true perpetual license.
Previously the policy used to be if you skipped upgrades then the only consequence would be you had to pay more when finally upgrading which was a fair policy in my opinion, but now they are punishing their perpetual license holders forever if not paying the annual upgrade fee.
I mean would it really kill them to have something similar to the old arrangement where you can buy back in if skipping a few upgrades? It certainly would be a way better strategy to win back previously loyal customers like myself. Instead the cost of buying back in is so high I may not be able to afford it.

As far as your question of what I've put in Avid's coffers for the last years then that's exactly $0 as my last upgrade was in 2012, I admit that. However through the years I've paid them thousands of dollars from first purchasing an MC license, paying for MC upgrades, then later upgrading from MC to Symphony etc. That is a LOT of money that is now worth nothing to them.


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Pat Horridge
Re: Avid upgrade policy question
on Feb 11, 2017 at 10:39:58 am

Things change and have to.
Do Adobe have a perpetual licensing model?
Or was the only option to move to rental at a reduced rate?
Not fair there either.
I've always considered purchases like MC to pay for themselves in 3 years or less. After that its just icing.

Pat Horridge
Broadcast & Post Consultant, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
Free online Tutorials at VET digital media academy online http://vimeo.com/channels/752951
pat@vet.co.uk



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Michael Trenton
Re: Avid upgrade policy question
on Feb 11, 2017 at 11:19:41 am

Things change and have to.
Do Adobe have a perpetual licensing model?
Or was the only option to move to rental at a reduced rate?
Not fair there either.
I've always considered purchases like MC to pay for themselves in 3 years or less. After that its just icing.



I understand things change and obviously me not understanding the consequences of this change is on me. If I had been aware of the change in time then I would definitely have started paying that $299 annual fee in order to 'save' my Symphony license from becoming worthless, but alas I can't turn back time so here I am now.

As you point out Adobe has done away with perpetual licenses, which caused quite some controversy back when everyone were forced into a subscriptions based license model. I don't support that move by Adobe at all as I believe both alternatives should have been kept available instead of shoehorning every customer into Adobe's preferred license model (in Adobe's defence their subscriptions are very reasonably priced compared to Avid though, even though that's no excuse).
So in that sense Avid is, in theory, doing a good thing by offering both subscription based and perpetual licenses to their customers. My only beef here is the customer unfriendly approach they have with their perpetual license upgrade practices.
Basically it is a 'forced' annual subscription fee with no chance of a buy-in if you skip that annual fee for even a year. To me that seems very harsh and unfriendly towards customers who's paid up $1299 and then maybe paid $299 annually for several years on top of that.
Perpetual license holders are in effect being held hostage and forced to keep paying up that annual $299 in order to not loose all chance of ever upgrading their $1299 license in the future. In a way that's just another form of subscription based licensing in my opinion.

To add to that (if my poor math skills aren't playing tricks on me) it seems it takes a whole 9 years(!) before a perpetual license actually starts paying off versus subscription based license, which is, in my opinion, also a very perpetual license unfriendly policy.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Avid upgrade policy question
on Feb 11, 2017 at 2:47:03 pm

The only value of the perpetual license is that you have ownership of a license once you stop the support even if stuck at whatever version it was last updated to. But I do agree that there was a "mostly-forced" upgrade for all perpetual license owners by the end of 2015 as a way for Avid to back and get more revenue from their existing long time users. Basically, pay for the $299 upgrade whether you feel there is value there or not, or sometime after 12 months if you do feel there is value, you need to buy it all over again and any investment in Avid MC over 12 months has no value. Unlike Pro Tools which has a rich third party development and Avid Marketplace, MC cannot be the catalyst of additional revenue from the Marketplace via a revenue share strategy.

And there is a penalty against dongle owners that may have left it lapse as for whatever reason (not technical), existing dongles cannot be updated if past the 12 month plan. You either go to subscription or pay an additional $500 for a new dongle. At the time, owners of ScriptSync and PhraseFind were in a pickle and it was only revealed recently that there would be amnesty for those license owners. But at the time, it was a "Sophie's Choice".

The same "new" applies to subscription only... if you let whatever plan expire you can't just pick up again but need to get a new MC with its subscription as the old one associated with your account is no longer valid. That is very confusing to users and one has to say that the Application Manager does no favors in making any of this easy.

Sometimes I think a side effect, intentional or not, is that this new method helps with the "number of seats" on quarterly earning calls. For example, if a single subscriber rents every other month for one month each time, that single user can be counted as "6" when the CEO touts the number of subscriptions per quarter since there is no further distinction of type of subscriber, or currently "active" number of licenses.

And yes, I also agree that as a professional, the $299/year should not be a limiting factor. Avid's challenge for revenue growth is to go beyond it current "pro" market with offerings in order to increase seat count, which then attracts third party developers, which then supports a Marketplace strategy, etc.

My two cents as a "pro" user and a very small third party developer. ☺


Michael


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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Avid upgrade policy question
on Feb 11, 2017 at 5:06:04 pm

I look at this from a different perspective.

To say your perpetual license becomes "worthless" is not fair. Is your 2012 Symphony license "worthless"? You've been using it (or have had the ability to use it) for 5 years to cut as many projects as you want on it. It will still work in 5 more years.

Now if as a business you decide you can't afford 300 dollars a year (400 with exchange for us Canadians!) but can manage to run with the current license for 4 or more years, then you break even or even end up in the plus side of the ledger, if you decide in 4 or more years you want to "upgrade". Pay 1200 dollars and buy a new perpetual license. your old license is still not "worthless", it just isn't current...you now have two licenses.

If you have a job that comes in where it makes more sense to buy a 1 or 2 month subscription, then do that...transcode, link, edit what ever...guess what, your old "worthless" license will still open that project up, after the subscription ends.

There may be a few newer features that are unavailable, but if you have the media, and the project, you can certainly open the bins and the sequence and work on it. And to be honest, if you pay for a new perpetual license today, at the current rate of "real cool new features" coming from Avid, you might not need to upgrade for 4 years.

Avid bringing back script sync and phrase find is probably the biggest news in 3 or so years. Are the new features nice...sure...can I edit without them...yes.

I currently have two active dongles...each year in January I have to decide if I'm going to pay for 1, 2, or neither of them to continue on support. I don't do this thinking that one, or both of them will become "worthless"...just maybe
worth - less, but still quite useable.

By contrast, in Adobes model, (or Avids subscription model) if you quit paying for a month, then your product is worthless...until you pay some more.

It just depends on how you want to run your business.

Glenn


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Michael Trenton
Re: Avid upgrade policy question
on Feb 11, 2017 at 10:28:47 pm

And yes, I also agree that as a professional, the $299/year should not be a limiting factor. Avid's challenge for revenue growth is to go beyond it current "pro" market with offerings in order to increase seat count, which then attracts third party developers, which then supports a Marketplace strategy, etc.


I think if it is indeed Avid's goal to expand beyond the traditional pro market in order to increase seat count, basically tapping into the vast youtuber, corporate video and real estate/wedding videos market currently being dominated by Premiere Pro and FCPX then first of all they need to adopt a more competitive pricing strategy.

$49 a month for Media Composer alone (1-year agreement) versus Premiere Pro at $19 a month (1-year agreement) or if you want to you can get the entire Adobe CC suite for those same $49 (1-year agreement) giving you access to literally all of Adobe's software including Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Audition and Media Encoder.
And Avid's $1299 perpetual license versus FCPX perpetual at $299 (add another $100 and you'll get Motion and Compressor included).

With those prices I can't see how Avid will ever be able to win a bigger piece of those markets (presuming that is even their goal of course).
Those $49 a month ($35 for 3-year agreement) by Avid should have at least included Symphony and Pro Tools etc as well in order to make a somewhat more attractive and competitive deal versus the competition.





To say your perpetual license becomes "worthless" is not fair. Is your 2012 Symphony license "worthless"? You've been using it (or have had the ability to use it) for 5 years to cut as many projects as you want on it. It will still work in 5 more years.


I guess outdated is a better term. And if I ever want an up to date Avid Symphony it means I'll have to pay up $2048 for a new MC license with the Symphony option.
But I agree my choice of words probably weren't the best and if I'm lucky I can still go on to use my current Symphony v.6 license for some time, although I may have to adopt some transcode workflow in order to edit with some of the newer 4K codecs I'll be using. I'll do some tests and see how things work out.


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