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Avid says No to NAB 2008

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gizmac
Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 2:29:55 am

I am glad Ron is bringing up the fact that expos can get to the point of being too expensive for the return on the investment.

My company does exhibit at the MacWorld Expo every year and each year we debate whether we can increase sales quick enough to pay for the expo expenses before it is time for the next expo...we would like to exhibit at NAB also, but then we would have less time between expos to recover the expenses.

Next MacWorld Expo, we have a couple of strong product releases around the expo time, so we think (hope, cross our fingers, etc.) our company will do very well next year...but there is no way of being sure.

I kid the president each year around this time by saying we should just stick a big sign in our completely empty booth space that just says "http://www.XRackPro.com"...very much like what Ron hinted at doing with the money instead of expos.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 5:37:28 am

I can sympathize with companies that feel strapped by expos.

Back when we did our own expo, Creative COW West in 2003, we had over 40 companies as I recall on our expo floor. We had the usual Platinum, Gold and Silver sponsors. We had booths and brought a couple of thousand people to the Westin Hotel's conference and expo center in Los Angeles.

It was fun but it was VERY expensive. Fortunately, we didn't lose money or we'd have been out of business, quick.

But it taught me the other side of conferences and expos and why they are so expensive.

It also taught me that I am not sure that I'd really ever want to do it again.

I can understand why NAB wants every nickel on the table but I can also understand why companies like Avid are getting sick of the drill -- and drill is a pretty accurate description.

Some people say that Avid is bowing out because they are in trouble. This kind of short-sighted argument really bores me and bore me quick.

Why?

These people ignore the fact that in the restructuring of Avid that recently happened, they brought in the man who ran their most successful video division, Graham Sharp of Avid Europe (a man with a strong record of doing things against the grain and having it work profitably, very profitably). Graham has always played his gut instincts and he has proven his instincts to be quite accute.

Graham was the head of Avid's European offices and he spent years ignoring IBC. Instead, he took the money and got toe-to-toe with those who wanted to know more about Avid and who wanted to get real answers from Avid -- not the kind that come on a 1-800- line where some know-nothing tells you "Yeah, our system does that." Or the kind of answers you get from a 10 minute demo on the battlefloor of NAB. Graham is an expert guerrilla marketer with the track record to prove it.

As I said, he also has a long history of hating tradeshows. He's a strong advocate of roadshows and targeted mini-conferences that take Avid's message directly to the best prospects -- and he knows how to find him.

Huge tradeshows are dying. Just look at demise of Showbiz Expo, the NY DV Show, the LA DV Show and others that are now dead and gone. Even DV Expo, Siggraph, NAB and others continue to spiral downward -- some with actual attendee number losses and fewer and fewer supporting vendors, etc. Other shows lose by the quality of the attendees dropping to the point where many companies that I talk to are saying that they get questions today that almost make them want to break out laughing -- or crying, and just go home.

Me, I will stand by my words and say that I believe that over the next few years, these shows will become less and less important and their attendees and exhibitors will dwindle.

Avid is not the first and they surely won't be the last. But, to date, they are indeed the biggest fish that has leaped from the pond and strode off looking for their own better way to market.

Me, I wish them luck and think that the day has come for companies to recognize the fact that the market has changed -- REALLY changed.

It isn't 1980 anymore. Business models change...

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Christopher Wright
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 7:18:20 am

Ron..

Finally acknowledging the paradigm shift....


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Ben Holmes
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 9:46:27 am

Ron

I don't doubt that the market has changed, but I'm not sure that just because it makes little sense for YOU to be at NAB (you're an online business) that it makes little sense for AVID. As expensive as shows like NAB and IBC are, they also signal intent on behalf of the company to be in a market, to allow direct comparison of their products to others, and to build personal relationships with buyers and new customers - particularly the new consumers that will become their userbase in years to come. For hire companies and post-production houses, the shows present a unique opportunity to do business with multiple companies over a short time period - often this is a money saver, not a drain on time or resources - and I speak from personal experience here. I know many companies who do a great deal of business at NAB, millions of dollars every year.

I suspect that some of AVID's reasons may be more prosaic. As I long time FCP user, I knew I had made the right choice in technology when I visited NAB a few years ago and arrived at the steps down to the post hall. On my right was a huge Apple stand PACKED with people, many of them younger professionals taking a look at the latest builds of FCP etc. To the left of that aisle was AVID, in a large but almost entirely empty stand. The staff manning it had a slighty bemused look every time I passed.

There may well have been a paradigm shift - in editing - and I think AVID may have been on the receiving end....

Ben


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Olivier
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 12:18:00 pm

I missed AVID at IBC this year. Which is probably one of the maddest thing I could say as we run only FCP.

We always take the company to Amsterdam to give them an idea what new technologies are out there and have a good time. It's a great and very effective way to see what there is out there. All our major purchasing decisions are influenced at these shows. If we are interested we generally set up follow up meeting.

I know Avid do road shows but I've never seen one or heard one and we are based in Soho. So to me there are not very effective. I way prefer to go once to a show than having all these multiple demos and generally when I see something new and interesting I go round to other stands and see if they can do it and how.

I've always found it a very weird that AVID decided not to go to IBC for the last 3 years and maybe if they had we would have got a system. Especially one that runs on a Mac.

Olivier
Pogo Films


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 2:06:48 pm


Oliver,

Smaller shops are not the target market of Avid. They likely pass you by for the same reason that they pass me by. We are just too small here to truly appreciate the kind of infrastructure that Avid has developed to meet the needs of their core market, which is made up of customers that want to manage huge amounts of data from many, many projects, all accessible and managed within a construct that disallows one person access to a file for one reason, while allowing another access -- all the while giving full management access to those who need to oversee the project.

That is not a story that communicates well on a noisy showfloor in a matter of minutes.

I agree that not being on the showfloor sends a certain message and it is one that will likely hurt Avid -- some.

But if Graham is half as good a marketer as I think he is, I think that the company will likely surprise some (oh, while likely rankling and angering others).

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Olivier
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 2:17:33 pm

Hi Ron

I don't entirely agree to that, as we've been looking at what Quantel are up and the only reason it popped on the radar was that they were at IBC doing some cool new stuff that we didn't expect. Obviously after that noisy trying to get a appointment at the stand did we have a one to one in Soho.

I just have no idea what Avid are up to and at these shows I'm all ears on what is happening. Then during the rest of the year I'm working out which problem I need to solve.

Mmm what should I do now... ahh yea color 1.02 see what they have fixed and not!

Olivier


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 4:30:50 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "not being on the showfloor sends a certain message and it is one that will likely hurt Avid -- some.

But if Graham is half as good a marketer as I think he is, I think that the company will likely surprise some (oh, while likely rankling and angering others)."


Ron,

Unfortunately, Avid is now going to have to face a problem that is perhaps more difficult to contend with than any reality. The company is now going to be forced to contend against the perception or "feeling" that they are failing, and whether thats true or not, it may not matter. Once the spector of failure is raised, it can be like fighting with shadows--often the more a company ratchets up its public relations machine to assure people the company isn't failing, the greater the perception that they really are.

I suspect Avid may be in for a very tough time. Jousting with shadows is not easy.

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 4:36:43 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "The company is now going to be forced to contend against the perception or "feeling" that they are failing, and whether thats true or not, it may not matter. Once the spector of failure is raised, it can be like fighting with shadows--often the more a company ratchets up its public relations machine to assure people the company isn't failing, the greater the perception that they really are."

For years, I have said many, many times that "In a marketing war, perception is everything."

And it is.

Perceptions will either make or break you and I agree that Avid's move is likely to have repercussions that they may live to regret.

Time will tell.

But Graham Sharp has fought and won against that perception in Europe for years, eschewing IBC and taking his show on the road for great profitability and market success.

But as many European companies can attest to, them damned Yankees think and act funny.

As I heard in one of my sci-fi shows the other night: the future is not set in stone.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Hellena
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 12:25:52 pm

Ben,

I sincerely hope that the number of people on a stand is not what makes you commit to a product - but the product itself. We all know that Apple are good at creating a buzz around their product range. But does this really help you Ben when you are editing?
Marketing is one thing. I prefer to work with products that actually work. A nice wrapping doesn't do it for me. And isn't NAB just that?

Helena


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Phil Grimpo
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 1:12:33 pm

For me, I've always held my major purchases until I go to NAB and hold the product, talk to the vendors, compare with others, etc. I don't have time to read through every trade show magazine and keep track of what's what. It's nice to go to NAB and have it all there. See how others are reacting, develop some relationships with vendors, etc.

And I agree with the Road Shows in both senses. I LOVE it when I can see a road show and have a very one-on-one setting. However, in Lincoln NE that very rarely ever happens. If I'm going to drive 5 hours to Minneapolis, I might as well fly 2 hours to Vegas and see it all.

Just my $.02


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walter biscardi
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 1:29:25 pm

[Phil Grimpo] "And I agree with the Road Shows in both senses. I LOVE it when I can see a road show and have a very one-on-one setting. However, in Lincoln NE that very rarely ever happens. If I'm going to drive 5 hours to Minneapolis, I might as well fly 2 hours to Vegas and see it all."

Completely agree there. No way a Road Show can hit all the potential customers and if you're going to pay to travel for a one day road show, you're better off traveling to a major convention where you can compare everything at once. I've only been to one road show from Adobe a few years back and it was just a stage show and no way to get near the actual product or product managers.

Avid's Road Shows will be targeted where they can hit large market clients because that's really the only way they can survive. Somebody buying one system or two systems is not worth their time, hence no need for a booth. They need 50 to 200+ systems purchased to make any deal worth their while anymore.

Of course as I noted in the Final Cut Pro forum, those large clients are going to be harder and harder to come by. CNN Atlanta is transitioning from Avid to Final Cut Pro as we speak and from what I've been told it was the horrendous customer service that really doomed them.

Nobody twisted Avid's arm to run an 80' by 80' booth or whatever their footprint was. Bottom line for me, Avid is losing the overall NLE war to Apple and Adobe. I don't see how staying off the show floor completely helps them to gain market share back.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 2:27:34 pm

I both agree some and disagree some with my venerable and esteemed friend, Walter.

I agree that Avid's reputation as a stodgy and smug company with an attitude has hurt it. I can't count the number of times that I have called people at Avid only to realize that Jimmy Buffett was right when he wrote the song, "If the phone doesn't ring, it's me."

But just as Autodesk, Adobe and others have been through major restructurings, so has Avid and it was one that used a fairly wide and large broom. ;o)

When we called Avid for an interview with Graham Sharp yesterday, we had it in minutes. That's never happened before.

But I disagree when simplifying purchases down to making up one's mind on what can be gleaned from a showfloor.

Why?

I have been to many deep all day product roadshows, some that have lasted for two to four days. With a tool like an Avid, I have probably five or six days of intense all-day seminars digging into the features and I am far from knowledgeable about all that's there. I doubt that I have covered a third of what makes an Avid, an Avid.

But what I learned on a showfloor sitting in my seat for 10 to 20 minutes? Not much.

Apple plays well at NAB. Adobe's presentation from all I heard, was a far second to Apple's "wow, the crowd" approach. Avid? Well, let's be nice and ask did they even have a big press event last year?

;)

Regardless of the outcome of Avid's decision, companies like Sony have left Comdex, a show that was one of the pivotal shows for them. In doing so, they set the stage for many others to follow their lead.

The tradeshow industry is in a world of hurt, far more than Avid.

Already gone are a long list of shows like Showbiz Expo (that had been a Hollywood cornerstone for years and years), gone also are the NY DV Show and LA DV Show, Videomaker gave up their show a few years back, the DVD Tech Expo is gone, DV Expo is a 20% to 25% of what it once was at its peak, Siggraph continues to get smaller and smaller each year, NAB is shrinking in both size and importance, and the list could go on and on...

Whether Avid has made a brilliant move or has just shot itself in the head, remains to be seen. But the fact remains that they have $2 million in a war chest to play the kinds of strategies that Graham Sharp played in Europe to remarkable success and profit -- all while avoiding IBC.

Tradeshows are important but they are not indespensible -- nor in this day of the internet are they indestructible.

Just watching the paradigms shift again.



Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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walter biscardi
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 2:40:03 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "Already gone are a long list of shows like Showbiz Expo (that had been a Hollywood cornerstone for years and years), gone also are the NY DV Show and LA DV Show, Videomaker gave up their show a few years back, the DVD Tech Expo is gone, DV Expo is a 20% to 25% of what it once was at its peak, Siggraph continues to get smaller and smaller each year, NAB is shrinking in both size and importance, and the list could go on and on..."

I personally think all of these other shows realized that there's really no need for any other trade show than NAB in the States. I also believe most of the companies who were on the show floors realized this too.

NAB will most definitely shrink in size, but it is the one show that "if I can only go to one show this year" it's going to be NAB. There's nothing else like it (except IBC) where you can truly see just about everything in one location.

For a major company to simply pull up stakes and say "See we saved $2 million!" just tells me they spent way too much money on their booth all these years. The NAB show floor is not about having the largest booth and (in Avid's case) the loudest booth. It's about having "boots on the ground" so the end customer can put a face to a company.

A smarter marketing plan would have been to scale back the footprint to something more modest while also running a hospitality suite for their larger clients.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

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Rennie
............ NAB IS DEAD ........really?
on Nov 16, 2007 at 2:13:15 am

[walter biscardi] "[Ron Lindeboom] "Already gone are a long list of shows like Showbiz Expo (that had been a Hollywood cornerstone for years and years), gone also are the NY DV Show and LA DV Show, Videomaker gave up their show a few years back, the DVD Tech Expo is gone, DV Expo is a 20% to 25% of what it once was at its peak, Siggraph continues to get smaller and smaller each year, NAB is shrinking in both size and importance, and the list could go on and on..."

I personally think all of these other shows realized that there's really no need for any other trade show than NAB in the States. I also believe most of the companies who were on the show floors realized this too. "


Precisely, NAB had a good thing and a lot of up and comers came along and saturated the market.

[walter biscardi] "
NAB will most definitely shrink in size, but it is the one show that "if I can only go to one show this year" it's going to be NAB. There's nothing else like it (except IBC) where you can truly see just about everything in one location. "


I was just looking at the stats on nab attendance for 2007 and it is about 108,000, about the same as when I last attended in 2000.

Since the early days of the acceptance of computers into the video editing environment the market has changed immensely. Every Joe Blow who has been laid off a the local TV station has a FCS and is competing in the same market place. The 400 or so movies in production has to compete for it's market share of viewers who are now producing their own content (docs, shorts,youtube etc.) The masses are less and less content to watch make believe action movies for entertainment and are focusing more and more on real world issues that confront us daily.

I think Avid like a lot of companies just has to tighten it's belt. Most companies traditionally did NAB AND road shows. Road shows are nothing new for anyone. I think Avid should have just scaled down their booth but continued a presence at NAB.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: ............ NAB IS DEAD ........really?
on Nov 16, 2007 at 4:50:53 am

Oh please, Rennie...

Who in the heck said that NAB was DEAD???

Sheesh.

What I said was that NAB is becoming increasingly irrelevant as a means of marketing for SOME companies, Avid being one and the COW another.

You seem fit to prove that the only exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions.

I have talked to more than a few companies who have written me following the publishing of this letter and they have been largely quite favorable, by far.

That said, if you wish to try to put words in my mouth, at least read what was said and use my words, okay???

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Rennie
Re: ............ NAB IS DEAD ........really?
on Nov 16, 2007 at 11:48:37 pm

Sorry Ron, I hadn't meant to infer you had meant nab is dead but after reading many of the comments ie:" I believe that over the next few years, these shows will become less and less important and their attendees and exhibitors will dwindle." it sounded like doom and gloom for nab.
It spurned me to check the attendance records and they seem as healthy as ever so I just wanted to make a point before too many people decided nab was not worth going to anymore.

Some times my sense of humor takes over as with my heading NAB IS DEAD. I was using it as a newspaper cartoonist would use a humorous drawing to make a point in favor of nab. My intention was not to put words in yours or anyone else's mouth but merely to invoke some positive thought to all potential nab supporters. I apologize if it came off any other way.

I for one look forward to attending more nab conventions in the future and find them valuable. I live in a city with NO (ZERO) professional equipment dealers with the closest ones being 5 hours and a $100.00 ferry ride away. I find I'm often steered away from what I initially inquired about in favor of the brand of choice (of the dealer) when I call these distance dealers. At nab, attendees can get hands on exposure and fair representation of just about any product or brand.

NAB is much more than an annual convention with roots deeply implanted into the commercial video world. As someone who has run a small not for profit convention on a break even basis it is easy to see the enormous potential for profit of a convention the size of NAB. (the city of Las Vegas should pay them to rent the convention centers and hold the event there!) Profits from the convention must offset many of the other arms of the organization. Perhaps it's time to scale this offset back to make it more affordable for attendees and trades exhibitors alike to remain a part of the convention.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: ............ NAB IS DEAD ........really?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 12:18:38 am


Thanks for the clarification, Rennie.

Like you, I live in a nowhere town hours from anywhere. We are halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco and it seems that our area, like yours, is out of the flow of this industry.

But as I said somewhere else, NAB is great because it's a party -- not because it's necessary.

That my opinion.

I don't argue that NAB *posts* that they get large numbers. But there is only one event that posts audited numbers and that is DV Expo. NAB posts the number of people that sign up. But there are far fewer that actually show up.

Many that work the booths joke during breaks, etc., that we see the same people going back and forth for days. And it's true for those that work the COW booth as our business is people and so we are looking at them, not at a computer screen.

I'd guess that NAB's *real* floor numbers are somewhere between 40,000 to 60,000. Still a huge number but without any kind of third party verification, it's hard to say what's really going on.

That's why we love Alexa.com, Compete.com, TrafficEstimate.com and Google Analytics. Between them, we can prove that we have five-times the traffic every month of the year that NAB has at its peak.

I am NOT saying that we are more important than NAB and I do not believe that for a moment. What I *am* saying is that the market is changing and as sites like CreativeCOW.net continue to grow, traditional venues that people went to for information -- like magazines and expos -- become less and less important and it is why they struggle.

As Tim and I like to say, we aren't chasing news in the Creative COW Magazine. Why? These forums do a far better job ferrting out press releases, reviews and other traditional fodder of dead tree-based journalism than we ever could. So we look for the deeper stories, more broad-scoped analysis and commentary on things that really matter in the long run -- this, as tools change all the time but over-riding principles usually don't.

It's why the COW Magazine is growing faster than we can add people to our database. We have budgeted monies to keep the magazine in the black and so we only add just so many with each issue. Most all of our competitors would love to be in that position. But they aren't. Why? They are all chasing the same news and reviews and have the same hunks of plastic on their covers every month.

Times are not only a' changin', but so is the market and since writing this article here at the COW, I have been written by people at most all the major networks who have said that they loved reading it.

Our membership sign ups are three-times normal and we had the biggest sign-up day in our history yesterday.

While there are indeed a lot of people that love going to NAB, the truth is, there are many who have been in this industry for decades who never want to walk its hallowed halls again, it seems.

More and more of the people we met at NAB over the last few years are newer users who are just starting out. The old guard that we used to meet and talk with is fading out and tell me that they love sites like the COW just because it helps them keep up with things without being obligated to travel anymore.

For those who love to travel, god bless 'em, me says. ;o)

But I can too understand those who say that they'll just take the information please, without all the sensory overload, thank you.

Again, that is just my opinion and I am not asking you or anyone else to agree with me.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Rennie
Re: ............ NAB IS DEAD ........really?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 12:42:14 am

I didn't realize these were un-audited numbers. Now I'm feeling guilty...I registered for the 1st time in 7 years with hopes of going last year only to have my plans dashed by some work opportunities which took precedence.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: ............ NAB IS DEAD ........really?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 1:06:10 am

[Rennie] "I didn't realize these were un-audited numbers. Now I'm feeling guilty...I registered for the 1st time in 7 years with hopes of going last year only to have my plans dashed by some work opportunities which took precedence."

Making money is good, Rennie.

;o)

At least that's what I hear from all those old guys up at the top of this forum. (I am not like them, I look far younger in person -- it's just a bad picture.)

"Yeah right, Lindeboom," mutters those whose retinas have been burned by hall lights reflecting off too much white hair, while chatting at the COW booth during past NABs.

Have fun,



Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Ben Holmes
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 2:47:50 pm

[Hellena] "I sincerely hope that the number of people on a stand is not what makes you commit to a product - but the product itself."

That's not what I said - although I expected a certain amount of AVID/FCP backlash from my comments. I said I knew I had made the right decision (some time earlier) when I saw the levels of interest for the two products. I will not debate the pros and cons of the systems here, but at the end of the day, that's what they are - systems.

What any product line needs to survive is the support of talented people - Apple have made great inroads to the 'big' work because they gave people an affordable start, and therefore created a large talent pool, which is growing exponentially. This is now paying dividends in broadcast, and may hurt Avid more and more in these core 'high-end' markets they still control. it took Avid far to long to see the danger - I hope (sincerely) they can reverse the trend.


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walter biscardi
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 3:17:54 pm

[Ben Holmes] "What any product line needs to survive is the support of talented people - Apple have made great inroads to the 'big' work because they gave people an affordable start, and therefore created a large talent pool, which is growing exponentially."

You hit it right on the head Ben. Apple has allowed artists, like myself, to have very high end tools at a very affordable price. The $25,000 application formerly known as Final Touch 2K now rolled into Studio 2 as "Color" is a great example.

At the end of the day, Producers are looking for quality talent. They honestly don't care what tool I'm using, all they know is that we are producing high quality work that is airing on national HD networks for a fraction of what it costs to go to the "big Avid shop" in town. We now have three HD suites pretty much booked out through April and I've outfitted all three of them for less than a single high end Avid HD system would cost me.

Final Cut Studio and Adobe CS3 allow artists to provide high quality work without having to pay Avid prices and support contracts. Eventually that catches up to a company.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

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beenyweenies
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 12:46:18 am

"We all know that Apple are good at creating a buzz around their product range. But does this really help you Ben when you are editing?"

Most of the spectators at the Apple booth are there because they like the products - they work well, are reasonably intuitive and, more importantly, they are cheap so many more people can get in on the action. With Avid, you can't even step up to the plate with less than $100k to work with, and their entire system is propped up on a code base that is what, almost 15-20 years old? Not to start a FCP vs. Avid debate here, but Avid doesn't generate much excitement for the average trade show attendee because it is overpriced and not FOR the mainstream, average editor. Apple's success isn't based on unwarranted hype and marketing, it's based on accessibility, which is key to having a good showing at a trade show.

I would wager that the vast majority of Avid's current business is made up of long-term customers from back in the early days of computer-based editing, who are so used to Avid (and the name being synonymous with high-end editing) that they are hesitant to move to other products. Avid seems to be banking on a small set of dedicated users to keep them going. Based on this, there really isn't much need for them to hit the big expensive trade shows.

In some ways it does point to a downturn for them, if only because it highlights what an "elite" system it is, so elite in fact that average purchasers don't frequent their booths enough to justify the expense. If they can't get younger editors to use their products, they lose. Unfortunately the only way to do that is to stop charging $900 per hard drive and $150,000 for a piece of software who's next competitor charges $1,299.

But that's just my 2 cents.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 1:59:23 pm

[Ben Holmes] "I know many companies who do a great deal of business at NAB, millions of dollars every year."

I just spoke with one of my friends yesterday who is in this class. He does millions of dollars a year in sales at NAB, when tracking the leads out over the next few months of follow-up.

That's a good thing.

Especially for him, he says. ;o)

But he was quite blunt with me when I reminded him that millions in sales is not millions in profit.

That's when he admitted to me, that he's not sure that he'd be able to afford it were he not being subsidized by the many manufacturers whose products he represents. He told me how he splits his cost across a bunch of co-op ad programs and that is what makes it palpable.

My point with the article is that Avid is arguably one of the deepest -- if not the deepest -- nonlinear editing and content production and management technologies on the planet. You don't "pitch" it against FCP in 10 to 20 minutes on a loud show floor -- if you make a decision on your tools that way, there is no guarantee that you got it right.

What some people are missing in this is that Avid stayed away from IBC for years and yet Graham Sharp, the guy who is now leading Avid Video, turned in some of the highest numbers in Avid when he headed the European region.

I think that Avid has merely made a decision that basically comes down to this: They can take $2 million and apply it to the kinds of strategies that Graham used in Europe; strategies that involve taking Avid directly to those whose demographic is likely to appreciate the depth and breadth of the kind of media management and file sharing prowess that is at the heart of what Avid does. That kind of story doesn't play well on the battlefloor of NAB. But it does play well when presented to the engineers and key personnel at major broadcasters, film studios and others that make up the vast majority of Avid's customer base.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Raymond Motion Pictures
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 3:22:06 pm

Ron, I was in the Trade Show Business for years - mostly for automotive clients (American and Japanese) - the number one thing attendees remember months AFTER the show is not the million dollar exhibit, but a person they met. There are plenty of studies that confirm that fact.

Show producers and exhibit builders would like to keep that a secret. They want to sell big spaces with big exhibits.

Then for the obvious - there's a virtual trade show going on all the time, right here on the internet.

So I think Avid's decision is a solid one as long as their people are out and actually meeting people. If they don't follow up on that...they will lose even more market share. Show me that you care about me and my business and I'll listen - because you're listening.


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George Socka
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 19, 2007 at 1:27:00 am

Quote". You don't "pitch" it against FCP in 10 to 20 minutes on a loud show floor -- if you make a decision on your tools that way, there is no guarantee that you got it right."

OTOH, you can try FCP or PPro for less than the cost of attending NAB for a few days and then dump them if they end up being less effective than your existing ading AVID solution. The competition HAS changed.


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charles pierce
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Dec 12, 2007 at 3:26:25 am

[George Socka] "OTOH, you can try FCP or PPro for less than the cost of attending NAB for a few days and then dump them if they end up being less effective than your existing ading AVID solution. The competition HAS changed."


Only a child would think this an argument. The LEAST expensive part of any studio is the software. Just ask your accountant. You do have one, don't you?

It is the person behind the controls and their training costs that far outweighs the cost of a box of software. Only an idiot would change out the focus of their studio on the basis of a cheap box of software.

Yes, the market has changed. More stupid people are now in it than ever before.

charles


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Dec 12, 2007 at 3:40:54 am

Charles,

I suspect that your comments came about due to wanting to somehow protect the COW following George's comments in the thread "Protecting your name" above.

Still, I am going to warn you that we do not condone these kinds of personal attacks and ask you to "stand down" on this issue.

George has never been one to have a kind word for the COW or its management and we have come to expect that if anything has an adverse effect on either the COW or on us personally, George will be beating the drum for it. It is just the way that he is.

But calling the man an idiot is off-limits. While we may disagree with it, he is entitled to his opinion. Please respect that as it is a cornerstone of that which has made the COW what it is today.

Best regards,


Ron Lindeboom
http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronlindeboom
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine
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George Socka
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Dec 12, 2007 at 3:51:21 am

You are too kind Ron. But digging up a month old post to "retaliate" for a current post seems a bit bizarre to me as well. We live in interesting times indeed.




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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008 -- a P.S.
on Dec 12, 2007 at 3:55:50 am


Charles,

I forgot to mention that my esteemed antagonist is indeed an accountant, and quite a good one at that from what I have learned over the years. So your argument regarding training costs is likely one that he's already considered.

Please keep that in mind the next time you seek to insult a man.

Just so you know,

Ron Lindeboom


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George Socka
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008 -- a P.S.
on Dec 12, 2007 at 4:05:53 am

Antagonist never, questioner of authority, always. Dumbstruck and dismayed by what goes on in the IP world, certainly.



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008 -- a P.S.
on Dec 12, 2007 at 4:14:07 am


George,

Over the years, I have had few people be so one-sided in their arguments on virtually any issue that seems to go against us. I don't think that using the word "antagonist" is a far stretch. ;o)

But hey, some of the best things I have ever learned I learned at the hands of my critics, not my friends. (Though I love my friends, he says waving to them.) ;o)

Best regards,


Ron Lindeboom
http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronlindeboom
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine
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George Socka
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008 -- a P.S.
on Dec 12, 2007 at 4:22:32 am

Ron, I value your efforts and the Cow and maybe take it for granted. It is a daily must-read of 5 - 6 threads. Time on site of at least 20 minutes. Click on an ad at once or twice a week. Throw in my CAN$0.02 a couple of times a week.

What more can I say?



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008 -- a P.S.
on Dec 12, 2007 at 5:29:43 am

George,

I've been fighting high blood pressure for three years now and sometimes due to it, I admit that I read some people with a bit more invective than they may intend. If I have lumped you into that corner, my apologies, it is a rough job to keep a balance among 500,000 people a month, some who just want to rip others apart, some who come here to help or be helped. Keeping all the players sorted out and remembered perfectly can be quite a job.

I try but it would be a lot easier were I still 30. ;o)

Thanks for your kind words about the COW. They are indeed appreciated.

Have fun, George.


Best regards,


Ron Lindeboom
http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronlindeboom
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine
Join the COW's LinkedIn Group

Now in the COW Magazine: Commercials. A look at the history, strategy, techniques and production workflows of successful commercials. All brought to you by some of the COW's brightest members. Accept no substitutes!

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George Socka
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Dec 12, 2007 at 3:45:48 am

"child" "idiot" and "stupid" all in one post. Wow. I am floored



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Dec 12, 2007 at 4:19:18 am

Charles,

Thats one of the most insulting and condescending posts on this forum in recent memory.

In addition, your argument holds little water. These days editors can switch between software packages with a freedom and ease never imagined just a few years ago. No one suite of apps is perfect, so having the complete suites of apps from several manufacturers installed on your workstation is not at all uncommon.


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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walter biscardi
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Dec 12, 2007 at 11:21:36 am

[David Roth Weiss] "Charles,

Thats one of the most insulting and condescending posts on this forum in recent memory.

In addition, your argument holds little water. These days editors can switch between software packages with a freedom and ease never imagined just a few years ago. No one suite of apps is perfect, so having the complete suites of apps from several manufacturers installed on your workstation is not at all uncommon."


Have to pretty much agree here. No need to revert to childish name calling to try and win an argument, especially against a post that is 1 month old.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

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Phil Lowe
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 1:56:51 pm

Well as an Avid licensee, once rabid supporter and now disgruntled user, I can only say this: I don't care whether Avid attends NAB, does road shows, or sells out of the back of panel vans with the guys who do velvet paintings of Elvis. All I care about is whether their products actually WORK!

When you lose a whole day and a half of editing because their P2 consolidation workflow is precisely 180 degrees out of phase with what you would and should expect to do, then your software has problems. Until Avid fixes some of its software issues (I mean real engineered fixes and not half-a$$ed workarounds that users have to discover for themselves!), Avid should forget marketing and concentrate on making their products at least as bug-free as Premiere Pro 2.0!

The P2 problem is a real doozie! If you consolidate linking the master clips to the media on the target drive and try to consolidate from other P2 cards in the same bin later (as was the situation I recently encountered), the first set of consolidated master clips loses their links to the media on the target drive and returns to pointing at the P2 card reader!!!

When that happens, any previously consolidated media suddenly appears "offline" even though the media still exists on the target drive!

When I had a project that had 9 x 8gb P2 cards, plus media on a 60gb P2 storage drive, consolidating a second set of cards would cause all the media from the storage drive and previous cards to go offline!

It wasn't until halfway through a second day of editing that I finally got an answer from broadcast support: don't link master clips to media on the target drive!

OK, so if that workflow doesn't work, why the hell is it not only an option, but the most logical of the two options provided for consolidating P2 media?!?!?

Want another Avid issue? Under General settings, selecting "NTSC has setup" causes the application to add setup (7.5% black) to incoming video. That's fine if you're bringing DV material in that possesses no setup. But when your Mojo is hooked up to a broadcast Sony SX deck with a TBC on the analog outputs that already adds setup, suddenly your video has 15% setup, not 7.5%!!!

I wrote Avid once and suggested that simply changing the wording on the setting from "NTSC has setup" to "NTSC needs setup" would go a lot farther in actually explaining what their software is doing when that option is selected! That suggestion was made at least two years ago, and as of this writing, nothing has been done to fix this!

How 'bout a Pan & Zoom plug-in that is such a memory hog, using it is likely to cause your Avid DNA device to stop working, forcing a shutdown of the entire program and reset of the Mojo or Adrenaline!!! I can run Combustion 4.0 rendering in the background and capture and edit with Avid in the foreground and not run into the kind of memory problems Avid has WITH ITS OWN PLUG-INS!!!

Avid is full of these kinds of traps and pitfalls that simply don't exist in other applications. If Avid is in trouble, it's because the marketing guys promise features and performance that the engineering guys can't deliver. And - until fairly recently - their customer support and service was abysmally bad, too.

Sorry for the rant. Didn't mean to hijack the thread, but I work with craptastic Avid Newscutters every day and am frequently left wondering how I'm actually going to get my work done. If my experience is any barometer for other people's experiences with Avid, then Avid should stay away from NAB and any other potential customer until they get their stuff together!

Just my $.02.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 3:27:34 pm

Rather than add comment snippets I'll post this comment.

I'm one of those small prod/post folks who can't shut my business to go to NAB
YET I think trade shows are critical (and wish there were more in NYC).

Road Shows
Road shows are great IF you know about them. Some of them are NOT well publicized.
Often they happen on the ONE DAY you're booked. Trades are across several days.
Often one is shut out of the LIMITED SEATING at a Road Show.

Internet
Marketing info on the internet is often TOO VAGUE.
Often there's a lot of misinformation, not coming from the manufacturer.

Trade Shows
One often sees products one DOES NOT KNOW ABOUT.
It's one stop shopping. One does not have to see EVERYTHING. One can target the vendors one needs to talk to.
NOTHING replaces the chance to say, "Can you SHOW me what you mean when you say your product does this?"

NYC just had a GREAT SMALL TRADE SHOW. NY ProTech Expo.
http://www.protechexpo.com/
It was production focused. People got to see presentation on the Sony F23, RED, Sony EX1 amongst others. Panasonic P2 gear was also well represented. Sony people did their presentations. The Rental and Sales VARs had the gear to test. BTW rather than using the overpriced Javitz Center or some hotel, they had it at Steiner Studio just outside of Manhattan (Brooklyn Navy Yard).
http://www.steinerstudios.com/projectsummary.html

I think the above is the IDEAL "New" model for a trade show. It's focused on a specific aspect of the business with "like/competitive" products so one can hear presentations from the manufacturers and then talk to the companies/VARs that actually make the sales.

I understand that big companies like Avid find that my small purchases mean so little to invest marketing to me. BUT small targeted local trade shows, away from the overpriced "traditional" (expensive) trade show venues SHOULD BE a new and viable way to market to businesses like mine.

Obviously Sony found it worthwhile to market the F23 (and SR1 and HDCAM SR) as well as XDCAM HD to me and the VARs who can make the sales or rentals where there and ready to cash in . . . in a location that probably didn't break their banks. That's a sensible Trade Show.

BTW the COW didn't have it listed in their Events Section sadly (NY Pro Tech Expo marketed the show through the many local user groups and the VARs marketed it as well). Maybe this is the kind of show COW SHOULD be digging to find out about (Or maybe such trade show sponsors need to know about the COW).


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 3:55:48 pm

Nice post, Craig.

I agree that the model of the highly focused, efficient and local show with hands-on tactile presentation is one of the ways that the paradigm is being shifted.

Apple does this kind of thing well at NAB, precisely because their user base is already familiar with the user experience and interface principles. It is easy to present basics. But as the new Final Cut 6 Bugs article in the COW Library attests, you won't catch all the snafus and gotchas -- nor discern all the intricacies of a highly complex media managed, file shared, metasync'd system like a high-end Avid -- on a show floor.

It's still a crap shoot.

Apple showed Logic this way at NAB a couple shows or so ago. But Logic is tougher to communicate than the wow and razzle dazzle of showing off a new Motion or Color. Most of the people that came to experience Logic just sat there with their eyes glazed. So, this year at NAB, no Logic.

But targeted at the right market, in the right setting, a tool like Logic is going to be a real success.

In its complexity and left-brained multi-faceted dryness of features that have to be grasped and understood, Avid finds itself with a "I'm here for my first look" presentation hurdle much like Logic. It's a tougher "show" than say FC Studio, wherein Apple races through features and presents the "mountain-tops." But an Avid requires more the kind of presentation that you are talking about, as much of what makes an Avid an Avid is found in the nuance and refinement.

I have always said that an artist understands that it takes 10% of the time to do the first 90% of the job, and 90% of the time to get the last 10% of the refinement done. Refinement takes time and while some argue that Avid needs a radical update, their core market argues that the refinement of stability is worth the premium and they are not arguing for a radical update that throws out the interface in the way that I have to relearn Photoshop everytime a new version comes out -- ggrrrr.

Avid's greatest success has been that their market expects something more than a two-page bug list when they buy an upgrade or a system.

Walter does great work but as a smaller shop, he has different needs and requirements than someone like CBS New York or PBS's flagship WGBH.

And as Randall Raymond (Raymond Motion Pictures) stated, as long as Avid can get their people out there meeting and interacting with their customers, they stand a great chance of being successful.

But only time will tell how the story plays out.



Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
creativecow.net
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walter biscardi
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 4:22:19 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "Walter does great work but as a smaller shop, he has different needs and requirements than someone like CBS New York or PBS's flagship WGBH."

As I noted earlier, CNN Atlanta is switching over to Final Cut Pro and I believe the switch is almost complete. Well over 200 workstations. That is the flagship facility for CNN. New York and D.C. will most certainly follow, but they don't have as many suites as Atlanta.

Turner Studios in Atlanta is also investing heavily in Final Cut Pro as well.

So it's not just us smaller shops that are investing in Final Cut Pro to save money.

The nice thing about the "2 page bug list" is that there is rarely something that completely kills a workflow or project. A lot of times those bugs are silly issues like no Drop Frame support in 720p (which was just corrected with FCP 6.0.2) which have easy workarounds.

As someone who has cut on CMX, Abekas, Accom, Avid, Media 100 and Final Cut Pro, FCP has been a solid performer and well worth the investment in the product. If it wasn't, I could not grow my business to level we are at now.

Maybe Avid can turn it around, but that "large installation" mentality will not continue to work for much longer. For me the business side of it is a no-brainer. I can install at least three FCP HD workstations for the price of one Avid workstation. So instead of having one very high end workstation working with one client for a high markup, I can run three FCP workstations at a reasonable rate and actually make more per day.

That's the business model I follow and it's a model that's very successful in the independent Post Production world right now. If I had Avid suites I would have to charge at least double what I'm charging now. I just don't see that kind of money floating out there right now. By keeping the overhead low, I can keep my rates down and keep the suites running.

BUT as noted earlier the clients come for our talent first, and love the price second.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR
The new Color Training DVD now available from the Creative Cow!

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 6:01:11 pm

[walter biscardi] "As I noted earlier, CNN Atlanta is switching over to Final Cut Pro and I believe the switch is almost complete. Well over 200 workstations. That is the flagship facility for CNN. New York and D.C. will most certainly follow, but they don't have as many suites as Atlanta.

Turner Studios in Atlanta is also investing heavily in Final Cut Pro as well.

So it's not just us smaller shops that are investing in Final Cut Pro to save money."


As I said, Walter, there were over 400 major movies released last year from the Hollywierd machine. A couple were edited on Final Cut. The rest? Avid.

Ditto for the major networks that use a few of the other systems but for the vast lion's share? Ditto. Avid.

I couldn't agree with you more about the talent part, Walter. That is what really moves the needle on the buyer/watcher side and over the years when I work with companies, I have almost never had anyone ask what I use to do what I do.

I think far too many producer/editor/animators do themselves a great disservice by making themselves identified first by their tools and second, by what they do.

By the way, congratulations on your new Master Series DVD for Apple Color, it looks like you have a hit on your hands, Wally.

:o)



Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
creativecow.net
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walter biscardi
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 6:41:38 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "
As I said, Walter, there were over 400 major movies released last year from the Hollywierd machine. A couple were edited on Final Cut. The rest? Avid."


I honestly pay no attention to movies because that's not my market. And as you say, 400 major movies. That's a pittance compared to thousands upon thousands of projects created for all the television networks and stations each year. I'd rather concentrate my efforts on those projects that try to land one high profile movie. That single movie won't earn us the same income as the almost 200 projects we will complete this year alone.


[Ron Lindeboom] "Ditto for the major networks that use a few of the other systems but for the vast lion's share? Ditto. Avid."

The networks really don't cut much themselves anymore. That's all handled by the production companies. But again, you want to talk about the "major networks" which I consider to be ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX. 4 networks compared to over 200 networks broadcasting on satellite and cable in the U.S. alone. Not to mention the hundreds (maybe thousands) of networks and stations around the world.

So let's just say that those 4 networks cut exclusively on Avid, of course they don't, but let's just say they did. The amount of programming produced just for those 4 networks pales in comparison to the amount of total programming created for the rest of the broadcasting world.

So again, I'm going to concentrate my efforts on the many thousands of broadcast opportunities out there instead of focusing directly in on the "big four" because there's much more money to be made elsewhere.

I'm in a very fortunate position that I get to work on one of my favorite shows on television, Good Eats (#1 on the network by the way) but that alone could not sustain our shop. We will deliver over 100 stories to NBC, PBS and Yahoo! this year. We've delivered environmental documentaries to Doha, Qatar. We've authored our first two Blu-ray disc titles for the Carter Center in Atlanta and will be producing at least 6 more in 2008. We helped launched Edward Norton's new conservation society. We've been working with The Weather Channel for the past three months. Over the next few years we will be cutting Sundance Documentaries.

So if cutting major motion films and cutting on the major networks is the absolute criteria for being successful, then Avid can keep that. I'll take the other thousands upon thousands of projects out there that keep us busy.

Final Cut Studio allows me to do this by simply adding workstations to meet the needs of my clients and the artists rather than finding the projects that can afford to keep my Avid DS/HD suite running.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR
The new Color Training DVD now available from the Creative Cow!

Read my Blog!


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 7:09:33 pm

[walter biscardi] "I honestly pay no attention to movies because that's not my market. And as you say, 400 major movies. That's a pittance compared to thousands upon thousands of projects created for all the television networks and stations each year. I'd rather concentrate my efforts on those projects that try to land one high profile movie. That single movie won't earn us the same income as the almost 200 projects we will complete this year alone."

Yes, I agree with you 100% in your situation, Walter. My point was that these 400 movies represent Sony Imageworks, Dreamworks SKG, Paramount and many, many others who buy huge infrastructures -- systems that bring massive purchases to Avid.

I also agree with you that in the world of smaller shops and indie producers, Final Cut FAR exceeds the incursion of systems hailing from Avid's Tewksbury, Massachusetts shipping address.

No argument from me there. ;o)

And am I saying that Avid's strategy is a shoe-in for success or that I think they will be a dominant player always in the days ahead? I really don't know. If they play their cards well and make the right moves, they could be. But if they don't serve their core market as well as they have to date, they could become a thing of the past.

It all remains to be seen as the big and little hands on the clock go round and round...

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Aanarav Sareen
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 11:25:55 pm

Since I am an adviser for CNN (New York), I can definitely say that FCP is increasingly coming into play. But, a majority of the prime-time shows and documentaries are still using Avid.

I was also with ABC over the summer and NO ONE wants to even consider FCP, PPRO or any other editing system. ABC's entire news network is connected with Avid. Heck, the people that are editing 30 second sound bites are also using Avid.

And, to those that say that Avid is losing money, you are correct as well. Take a look at their income statement:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=AVID&annual

Their net income has been reducing over the past couple of years. However, their revenues are UP. A majority of their cost is coming from "cost-of-revenue," and not going to trade shows will certainly reduce this cost.

Here is some further analysis about NAB, Avid, and resulting sales:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=AVID

See anything different with the quarter ended Jun. 30?

Here are 2 observations: a) cost of revenue is up, resulting in a net loss and b) sales are the second lowest amongst the 4 quarters.

I think that this indicates that NAB really made NO difference in their bottom line!

I think that this is a great move by Avid. This year, I was at NAB to purchase a few things for my local studio, but we already knew what we wanted to purchase and had done our research. We could have easily gone to B&H, purchased the items and avoided the entire Vegas trip (hassle).


premiere@asvideoproductions.com
http://www.asvideoproductions.com/techtalk


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Raymond Motion Pictures
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 3:51:13 am

[Aanarav Sareen] "And, to those that say that Avid is losing money, you are correct as well. Take a look at their income statement:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=AVID&annual

Their net income has been reducing over the past couple of years. However, their revenues are UP. A majority of their cost is coming from "cost-of-revenue," and not going to trade shows will certainly reduce this cost."


380 Million on 'Research Development' in the last three years. That's a lot of money. Assuming some of that went to market research - Avid is right where it planned to be...apparently.


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Proper Modulation
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 3:24:02 pm

Comparing an online forum's traffic to NAB's traffic (and it's subsequent relevance to Avid) was kind of a strange comparison and I'm not sure what point it really galvanized.

That Avid can focus it's resources better?

By preaching to the faithful? The "faithful" is one by one getting replaced by Apple savvy kids. The kinda kids that were at Apple's booth in LEGION at the last NAB.

I've been to NAB TWICE in my life...once in 1997 and once in 2007.

The decade long break was a excellent chance to see very clearly how much our industry has changed.

I'm not going to get into what's better, FCP or AVID, because that's really a moot point.

What I saw at NAB was a pep rally for Apple...THOUSANDS of guys younger than me (I'm 32) crowded around the Apple booth salivating...interested....knowledgeable....wanting aboard FCP.

Avid? Not so much.

Much like how Toyota and Honda planted the seed thirty+ years ago amongst young and thrifty Americans that their vehicles were cheap, good and reliable, Apple has done the same thing. It's a branding juggernaut that young people identify with and are GROWING UP WITH.

Avid? Not so much.

Say what you will about young editors, roll your eyes at the perceived lack of "pro" work FCP can handle or keep convincing yourself that the industry will stay the way it is forever, but fact is, the young guys crowding around FCP's booth last year are THE FUTURE and arguably the PRESENT.

Avid is taking YET ANOTHER step to remove themselves from the future and dig themselves deeper into the ESTABLISHED market that thinks Avid can do know wrong and would never fathom FCP as an alternate. That crowd is going the way of the dinosaur wether we like it or not.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 3:40:32 pm

Cheers to Proper.

Avid is chasing after the shrinking "big facility" market IMHO whereas Apple pursues smaller market which can be quite high end and, in some cases, grow into much bigger facilities. I think Adobe has learned from Apple and are repositioning in that direction too.

Avid's strategy will keep them afloat as they make the BIG sales to their targeted market but I'm not sure that's a great long term strategy. Of Course, maybe they feel being a high end niche product is way to long term survival. I'd consider that a risky business model.

BTW, Apple has had its issues with big trade shows too. Not all trade shows are worth saving/attending. But rather than abandon one looks for a new way to reach a broadly targeted product. Local Apple VARs are always in attendance at the several small industry trade shows in NYC.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 4:13:23 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Avid's strategy will keep them afloat as they make the BIG sales to their targeted market but I'm not sure that's a great long term strategy."

Mercedes Benz and Lexus would argue that.

You do not need to have all the mass market to be successful, you need to play your niche well.

Last year, about 400 major motion pictures were released and only a couple or so were edited in Final Cut.

Most all of the major networks around the world use Avid. A few use something else, whether it be Final Cut, Edius, Liquid (yes, there are some), etc. But most of the majors use Avid.

So like a Chevy, Final Cut makes the rounds of the mass market but you see far fewer Mercedes and Lexus's on the road. Yet all three companies have successful business models and any one of the cars will get you from Point A to Point B.

Avid is looking at itself and seeing what it does well and doesn't do well.

Its story does not play well on the show floor of NAB and throwing $2 million at it does not make great sense when NAB is clearly becoming a show for independent operators, whose numbers now make up a large part of the audience -- especially in the South Hall.

I think that Avid stands every bit as good a chance of succeeding as they do of failing in this endeavor. If they play their hand well, they will continue to serve a client base that has come to count on them. If they don't play it well, they will languish into obscurity as a footnote in the history of media production. The ball is in their court and I, like many, will look forward to seeing just how well they play their game.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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George Socka
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 19, 2007 at 1:43:27 am

Mercedes and Lexus - interesting analogy. 10 years ago no one that was a Mercedes buyer would have even looked at anything made by Toyota. Times have indeed changed. CEOs are driving Lexi (??) Avid buyers are looking at software made by Apple.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 4:28:58 pm

[Proper Modulation] "Say what you will about young editors, roll your eyes at the perceived lack of "pro" work FCP can handle or keep convincing yourself that the industry will stay the way it is forever, but fact is, the young guys crowding around FCP's booth last year are THE FUTURE and arguably the PRESENT."

The one thing I do NOT think and is quite clear in many of the things that I have said, is that this market will stay the same.

This market turns so fast that the only thing that you can count on is that change will happen -- and that, usually sooner than later.


[Proper Modulation] "Avid is taking YET ANOTHER step to remove themselves from the future and dig themselves deeper into the ESTABLISHED market that thinks Avid can do know wrong and would never fathom FCP as an alternate. That crowd is going the way of the dinosaur whether we like it or not."

Apple itself has felt the sting of this blade, having once had the lion's share of the market long ago. I can also remember when Apple in the days of the Mosaic browser accounted for the brunt of web traffic and even had a far larger share of the web server market than Microsoft.

But as you say above, things chance.

Avid is not oblivious to change and they are merely assessing the kinds of moves that return the highest return for them. NAB can be served by having some hospitality suites, which they will have.

But while Toyotas and Hondas are clearly all over the roads, as a business model, Mercedes and Lexus aren't half bad either.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Tim Kolb
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 7:09:15 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "But while Toyotas and Hondas are clearly all over the roads, as a business model, Mercedes and Lexus aren't half bad either."

I'd have to agree with this statement, but I'd say Avid is Mercedes who realized they were losing marketshare to Camrys and Accords with leather interiors. Instead of digging in and re-establishing the high end, Avid has spent some time and money on trying to make things like Mojo mop up some mid-range market instead of letting it go.

I won't repeat my post in the Avid forum, but suffice it to say, Avid "Pro NLEs" are not the only business that Avid "the company" has anymore. Looking at where the bulk of the employee layoffs have come from recently, I can't help but wonder which product lines are most profitable and whether we might soon see a company that changes focus entirely and sells off its flagship business (Sonic Foundry anyone?) to reconstitute itself elsewhere.

You can talk about innovative marketing and I certainly wish them the best as it serves none of us to reduce our choices in the marketplace, but looking at the recent moves made in reducing personnel and changing management faces rather abruptly, I can't help but wonder if the customer support that Avid is deservedly known for can be sustained...

On the other hand, the style of the day in preparing for a sale would be to cut expenses to optimize the paper position of the company or division to garner the best price in a sale, even if it means hurting the company or division's long term prospects for sustained operations should the sale fall through.

Looking at Avid's SEC filings, they've been struggling with their traditional NLE business and their most optimistic revenue producing units have been the acquisitions. One very quick option for putting cash into the system and cutting expenses is to sell off a division. Whether or not you sell a profitable division or a struggling one all depends on what the strategy is...

Good luck Avid. I'm hoping whatever it is you have planned works.




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
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cowcowcowcowcow
Tim Wilson
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 4:34:37 pm

[Proper Modulation] "Avid is taking YET ANOTHER step to remove themselves from the future and dig themselves deeper into the ESTABLISHED market that thinks Avid can do know wrong and would never fathom FCP as an alternate."

That's where I politely disagree.

Look at the Apple booth. Fully of delighted fans, everything's coming up roses, literally stampeding through the gates every morning.

People with negative energy to spread are rare in Apple's booth.

Every bit as true in Avid's booth, and all the others I worked. Most people come to trade show booths to be excited by new gear and new stories, and to reaffirm their wisdom in betting their careers on this company. I still think trade shows are soul-sucking misery, but the experience actually in the booth is pretty pleasant.

I worked more tradeshows than I can count, for 6 or 8 companies (please don't make me remember them too clearly) and I don't think I heard a dozen strongly negative comments in the 9 years I worked 'em. If you want to hear happy talk, live in the booth.

Compare this to my experience on Avid road shows...keeping in mind that I was hired because I knew NOTHING about Avid, but was an expert Final Cut Pro user. (Which I now know nothing about any more.) Seriously, I'd never launched an Avid app, never edited a frame with one before they hired me.

On a typical Avid road show, the demo monkeys like me were the ones on the stage.

In the crowd, highly visible ("David, raise your hand so people can see you"), you'd find the CEO, the video business GM, the COO, vice presidents for post and broadcast, every major product manager, support people, and sales managers there for the sole purpose of finding out from you if they needed to kick your dealer's ass for you.

You can pick the biggest fish at NAB -- NONE of them got to see all of these people in one room. The corporate wigs were spread across too many meetings for that to ever happen.

But ALL of them at every road show was engaged in one on one conversations, for hours. They visited facilities on the days surrounding the road shows. They lived and breathed constant customer contact.

And friends, they got an earful. This was anything but digging themselves in.

Not that there weren't plenty of people who had nice things to say, or who followed up their "thanks" with a big "but." (As Pee Wee Herman said, "Everyone I know has a big 'but.'"

To circle back to your point about ignoring FCP, I'll remind you that Avid hired me because I was an FCP whiz. Every product manager I knew was fully bilingual. Every development team had FCP installed on their machines. Every marketing team parses every Apple campaign. Every member of the UG teams gauge their success against FCP UGs.

That doesn't even count salespeople, who I assure you made certain that everybody on the product teams stayed on top of everything about everything about Final Cut Pro.

You might say that Avid is learning their lessons poorly, or not at all. I think you'd find plenty of people at Avid who agree with you.

So you might not like Avid. Even after my tales you might still think they made the wrong call about NAB. But to your original points:

--Plenty of their established customers think Avid is falling short. Avid stands face to face with them, one on one, and hears the details, and gets follow-up phone calls to see if they're following through.

--Which is why road shows are the opposite of digging in. They're putting yourself in the cross hairs, getting your crowd liquored up on your dime, and handing them a gun.

Maybe they shoot, maybe they don't. But the gun's loaded.



Even when facing the angriest customers, the road shows were the proudest moments of my corporate career. They were truly profound experiences that were unlike anything even remotely possible at a trade show.

A final note that I did road shows for other companies besides Avid. I have the same thing to say about those experiences too.

But since we're talking about Avid, I thought it might be helpful to have a perspective from inside the belly of the beast.

Best,
Tim


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Mark Suszko
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 6:01:32 pm

Ron, to follow up on your car analogies, if Chevy suddenly decided to not have a presence in the Detroit Auto Show, but said: "We're not interested in the auto show, but we'll have a presence in town", what would you rate their stock at afterwards?

Even if Avid's strategy is brilliant and I just don't see it, the immediate affect of this move is not massive new sales, but that a ton of Avid users are going to flood whatever off-site location Avid will use, to get reassurance they are not going to wind up like Discreet Edit* users. Non-Avid people who might have been interested in a purchase are now going to sit on their hands and see what happens instead of pulling the trigger on a purchase, and Avid better hope those folks don't see another product they like in the mean time. There are plenty.

Avid has lost control of their own story and these kinds of "death watch" memes become self-fulfilling if people lose faith the company is going to be around to support their purchases. It doesn't help when the last smart move of the company was to couple Avid's indifferent customer service with Pinnacle's fanciful notions of tech support. The fact that Avid is not forthcoming with more detail about their new directions at this stage just allows the negative rumor mill to run wild.

I think the smarter move would have been to keep a scaled-down booth at NAB, just like during WW2 when Ford had no civilian cars to sell, but it made ads that said "when new and better cars are built, Ford will build them", or words to that effect. Keep a smaller booth and make the booth all about the changes, is what I'd have suggested. What Avid has now is a panic, like a run on the bank. How is that good?

Does anyone have a good theory on what Avid is up to next? Avid's biggest strength was and is file management. Some people even joke Avid is a file management system with an NLE dongle attached. Where could such a tech advantage be useful? Where you have massive, massive projects and assets. My own guess or idea of what might happen is, purchase by Google and converting or building an Avid product into a free online YouTube editing and posting and management/access interface. For a small upcharge, you get a plus version that adds more effects or whatever. There you get complete vertical integration, and a huge, worldwide 24/7/365 market. Granted, it's mostly of college guys in their dorms or mom's basement now, but still...:-) YouTube is so amazingly huge, monetizing a proprietary interface to it at even a fraction of a penny per use would generate oceans of cash. More perhaps than Avid got out of being the defacto Hollywood standard all these years. If Hollywood made 400 films this year, that's about ten miuntes worth of one day's worth of uploads to YouTube. I didn't say anything about quality, just numbers.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 6:57:47 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Ron, to follow up on your car analogies, if Chevy suddenly decided to not have a presence in the Detroit Auto Show, but said: "We're not interested in the auto show, but we'll have a presence in town", what would you rate their stock at afterwards?"

Personally? I could care less if they went or not. I think most buyers think exactly the same. Few people attend these "events" in comparison to those that don't. I never have and I am a Chevy guy born and raised, having had them since high school. Though I now drive something else, but I loved my 2000 Impala -- it got great mileage on the road and never cost us a dime in maintenance, not one. (Other than oil changes, air filters, etc.)

But while I drove that car, some of my friends were driving Mercedes and paying nearly three-times the money and footing one of the highest cost-per-mile maintenance schedules in the automotive world. They loved them. Why? Don't ask me, I am not of that market.

My point is that those who buy the massive suites and foot the bill for multi-million dollar facilities nearly always go Avid. It costs more and the maintenance costs make them such that they should ship as standard equipment with all Mercedes sold.

But their market loves 'em -- well, loves to hate them. It's like one of those twisted marriages you see wherein the couple can't stand each other but can't stand to be without each other. Don't ask me how they do it, I'm with Kathlyn and so life is good.

;o)


[Mark Suszko] "Non-Avid people who might have been interested in a purchase are now going to sit on their hands and see what happens instead of pulling the trigger on a purchase, and Avid better hope those folks don't see another product they like in the mean time. There are plenty."

That's the very point, Mark: those who can be satisfied with something that they could buy breezing past a tradeshow booth for a few minutes and buy it almost as an impulse item, are likely not Avid prospects anyway.

You are right, there are indeed plenty of options just as there are plenty of different kinds of cars. Again, "cheap and gets you to where you're going" isn't always what moves the needle for some buyers, buyers often willing to pay two- to three-times what others do just to "get there."

It's that human nature thingie, again.


[Mark Suszko] "What Avid has now is a panic, like a run on the bank. How is that good?"

This presumes that your thoughts and feelings are the thoughts and feelings of all -- or even the majority of Avid users.

Kathlyn and I learned long ago that happy customers rarely post. Almost never. But anger someone or give someone something to complain about and they are all over the place in droves.

It's that human nature thingie, once more. (But hey, it's consistent.)

I have talked with quite a number of people since I wrote what I wrote. The verdict? Most of those looking at Avid think the sky is falling for Avid. But among those who make their living with Avid, most could care less and know where to find Avid when they want them.

Oddly, I have even had some of them tell me that, "Ron, I have half my company running on old AVR 77 machines and I still make a lot of money with them. Even if Avid were to go away, I'll make money with the newer machines long after they are paid for. I don't care..."

It seems to be a far bigger deal to those who don't use Avids, than to those that do use them.

I hate to say it, but I think it's that human nature thingie -- yet again.


But I have one question for you, Mark: Do you honestly believe that Avid could make such a major and fundamental shift without running it before the Board of Directors first? If they didn't get their approval, I would guarantee you that heads would and will roll again.



[Mark Suszko] "If Hollywood made 400 films this year, that's about ten miuntes worth of one day's worth of uploads to YouTube. I didn't say anything about quality, just numbers."

Yes, and most of it not worth watching -- and so no one does watch most of it. One of my favorite videos has been watched a mere 300 times or so in three years. Hardly anything to spark a Neilsens parade. Most of the videos on YouTube fall into that category.

To finish with the car analogy: YouTube is like the Yugo. Yes, it burned gas and the tires turned but it appealed to few people but those who couldn't afford anything else.

YouTube is a great thing and I love it. But it is hardly the market that Avid focuses on.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Timothy J. Allen
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 9:58:15 pm

... besides YouTube's video Editing partnership already seems to be with Adobe. ("Remixer-powered by Adobe Premier Express")

http://www.youtube.com/ytremixer_about

Yes, it's not a full fledged editor, but then again, youtube is not the same as your HD Home theater either.

I think Avid is simply making a cost decision based on valid market research data. It's simply easier for customers to make contact with company reps and find out specific product news than it used to be, which makes those customers who normally attend NAB for those reasons, less likely to attend. If Avid's purpose of having a visible presence at NAB is connecting with current and future purchasers (notice I said "purchasers", not "users", they have several options available these days.

CBS is not attending the National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE) conference this year. Traditionally, the NATPE conference has been touted as "the place where distribution deals are born". CBS simply feels that they don't have a need to put that kind of money into the NATPE convention this year. Where are they putting the money they saved? They are trying their best to get a jump on their competition in figuring out how to how to "monetize" web distribution of their content.

I see Avid's situation as similar. Like many vendors of whatever product, they are simply trying to focus their limited marketing resources on connecting with the specific portion of their customer base that will provide the most return on investment. Just like everyone else, they are trying to avoid spending time on the grinders and more on the folks who will actually give them increased revenue streams.







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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 4:59:40 am

[Timothy J. Allen] "CBS simply feels that they don't have a need to put that kind of money into the NATPE convention this year."

In light of this kind of thinking, one of the department heads from ABC -- I don't want to use his name without his permission -- wrote me today and said that "...I agree with your point of view. I go to NAB each year but never feel like it does a whole lot of good." (His words, not mine.)

A friend had forwarded the COW Newsletter to him and he wrote me asking to subscribe him as he liked what he read.

:o)

Sometimes, outspoken is good.

Kathlyn and I hope all is well with you and the family, Timothy.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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PaulD
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 11:09:41 am

[Ron Lindeboom] "Avid is taking it a step farther, insuring that their customers see what they need to see...
This is an approach that Avid found to be extremely successful in Europe


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angus
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 2:57:52 pm

Hi Paul,

I far from being an Avid fanboy, and I'm certainly no appologist. But they have recently sold one of the biggest Unity systems in the world (apparently!!) into Beeb Scotlands much heralded new base at Pacific Quay in Glasgow.

Broadly though, I agree with you. I don't believe customers will be willing to wear the restictive nature of avid product for much longer; certainly not in the numbers that they have been. They're very vulnerable to a robust, professional and open PC based editor - If Autodesk hadn't lacked the bottle and/or foresight to persevere with Edit*, they'd probably be far worse of than they are. In fact they might have been toast already.

Having said that, it's a mugs game writing of Avid

laters

Angus


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 3:31:15 pm


I just looked at my map and sure enough, just like I thought, Europe is much bigger than just those islands on the left of it.

The BBC is in a unique position in that it is subsidized to a level that PBS and others can only dream of. They have research and other support resources that are inherent in the company that other major broadcasters -- even the largest commercial broadcasters here in America -- would likely kill to have.

But again, Europe is a pretty big place.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Dmods
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 3:04:37 pm

I'm totally a person who believes rethinking and constantly evaluating your return on investment is a critical piece to running a successful business. And I totally understand "skipping" IBC and some of the smaller international exhibitions. However, we are talking about one of the largest trade shows on earth where product visibility is a key ingredient to "buzz" when you consider the internationl audience of NAB. And don't forget that this includes the international press.

The demise of trade shows (especially NAB) has been predicted for over a decade, and yet we are closing in on the pre 911 attendance numbers. The fact of the matter is, NAB is the umbrella that has upwards of 10 mini-conferences and an exhibition. If anything the NAB show is more relevant as the show is not just about broadcasters anymore. And while Avid may save a few hundred thousand not having the floor booth, they will most likely still spend plenty on the other involvement.

While I found my visit to Avid's booth last year very unimpressive (did like the script sync), in the past, when a new product was introduced, this was my best chance to look at the hardware and ask questions and compare other products on the floor. "We can do four streams..." Run over to Apple, "It depends..." Anyway, I spend the entire week and so often I come across questions I need answered due to new products (affecting workflows, etc.) and want to discuss how my current system will integrate - and this can occur over the entire four days as you consider budgets, partnerships, etc.
What's more efficient - waiting for a June local visit from Avid and then an October visit from another vendor to see if things will work together or one stop shopping?

While Avid will be at NAB. What will this look like? Will it be hard to get into sessions, parties, or will I have to be an ACSR? My point is, questions that need answering aren't going to go away - new products or not. And I truely hope Avid's strategy to have a presence at NAB is as inclusive as having a floor exhibit and not such a challenge that I have to hope I get "tickets" to some event so I can hear a marketing speech and not get my questions answered.




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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 3:22:59 pm


While I agree in principle with much of what you are saying and agree with you and guys like Walter Biscardi that other tradeshows are far less important than NAB, I don't think that the future will be hostage to the buzz created on a showfloor in Las Vegas.

I always tell Kathlyn, Tim and others close to the COW that as big as the COW is, it is but a pittance of the users who use this technology. The same is true for NAB, Comdex, and even PC World, Macworld, or any other tradeshow/expo that is at the forefront of its industry.

Oh, tradeshows and magazines that report on them would like you to believe that they are critical to your success as a manufacturer/developer/publisher -- but the truth is, the word will get around without them and some of the smartest and most informed people I know haven't been to a tradeshow in years. Does that make them ignorant because they haven't been informed by the show's titillating presentations? Hardly. Being informed is far easier today in the days of the internet.

As far as "predicting the demise of tradeshows" goes, I think it's pretty safe to say that it's a safe bet. Most are already gone, the few that remain are running aground and only the industry front-runner in any category has a semblance of health about it.

But as the manufacturer who started this thread stated, they are looking hard at their returns from their expense. As the other shows fall away, NAB keeps jacking up its prices to the companies to be there. They probably think that they can as they are the only game in town. But the fact is, manufacturers are wising up -- and they are -- that the world is different than it was decades ago when the tradeshow model came along.

Information is far easier to get than it was in the past. I asked a MAJOR supplier in this industry that many of you know and have probably talked to, when was the last time he surprised anyone with his information on the show floor at NAB. He thought for a second and said that it was at least five years ago.

People go to NAB because it's fun and it makes some things more convenient. They do not go because it's necessary.

That is the knowledge that will keep eroding NAB and other shows and you can say it isn't happening but it most certainly is...


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Dmods
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 6:10:22 pm

Great point regarding necessity. And I definitely understand the serious costs to attend and exhibit - especially when it is a constantly inflated price - and takes most exhibitors longer in their fiscal year to recover the costs. Real value or not, 100,000+ attendees perceive some value. And perception has a way of becoming a frightful reality. You may be right about the full demise of trade shows, my point is I've heard people predict the demise for over a decade - and they had help with 911 and a bad economy, yet they still go on. A main cause is the inclusion of mini-conferences under the umbrella of NAB that keeps people interested. So maybe the need for exhibition is less, but the point of a larger conference seems to be still relevant.


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Raymond Motion Pictures
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 9:29:11 pm

'Conspicuous absence' keeps a lot of big players from dropping out of trade shows. They don't want to provide grist for the rumor mill, so they hang on. I would not doubt that the decision to do NAB has been argued each of the last few years in Avid's conference rooms. This year the axe fell - next year it may not - if they come back, they will come back with an improved product.

There must be some soul-searching going on there and where a 141 million dollar budget for 'research' went to last year...

Wouldn't the first dollar spent on 'research' have told them that they need to listen to their customers, when the perception found everywhere is that they don't? That left $140,999,999.00 to fix it.

Now they say they are listening - why did it take the brick wall (they have run into) to make that happen?


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 10:14:40 pm

[Dmods] "...a larger conference seems to be still relevant."

I couldn't agree with this, more. Conferences have their place and many users get real value from them. I think conferences will long outlive expos.

But hey, that's just my opinion.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Andy Stinton
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 16, 2007 at 11:50:09 pm

Call me insane! I have always thought that Avid has an air of arrogance, much the same as Media 100 used to have..

Perhaps they are sitting on their thousands of unsold Xpress Pro boxes and saying "Let the huddled masses of NAB eat cake , but they will do so without us . This is our final cut"

It's a colorful explanation if nothing else.





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Bob Cole
NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 3:05:05 am

Okay, I have to ask whether this is true or just an urban legend:

A major provider of editing equipment was planning to show their new, voice-actuated editing console at NAB. Problem was, it wasn't ready. So the "editor" on the stage would give a verbal command, which the EDITOR behind the curtain would punch into the machine manually, and the edit would magically perform. Very impressive, until someone tripped on a curtain and revealed the Wizard of Oz and the trick.

That can't be a true story. Or... is it?

btw, I agree with all the comments here about NAB, both pro and con. Mainly though, I'm just sort of tired of NAB.

Bob C

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GrahamS
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 4:08:28 am

Hey guys,

great discussion - and btw, we deserve it.

Just let me say one thing - we do care about our user base and we are starting to listen ( I agree we didn't used to do either).

I find the concept of NAB arrogant - we plant a big flag in the middle of Vegas and say 'come to us' - the few thousand that do show up we then shout at for an hour in the din - what a great concept!

I am acutely aware you guys pay my (and every other Avid employees salary) so you have my attention.

Things are changing.

tx,G.

ps. Thanks to Ron, Tim and others for defending us. Time to fight back.



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Tim Wilson
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 9:04:45 am

[GrahamS] "you have my attention."

I swear to whomever, I SWEAR I was working on this reply when I saw Graham's post, so I moved this one down.

Cows, meet Graham Sharp, VP and General Manager of Avid Video. He's the straightest-shooting guy in the business, and relentlessly customer-focused. When he was in charge of the European business, he had no use for posturing or going through the motions, especially at trade shows. Him becoming GM of Avid Video is the most encouraging thing I've seen from Avid in a looooong time.

And since I never had the pleasure of reporting directly to him, this doesn't count as sucking up. :-)

Anyway, here's what I was going to say. This conversation is headed exactly away from what's important about road shows, and irrelevant about tradeshows.

Let's say that a tradeshow costs $4 for a vendor to attend. Let's say that vendors could do everything they need to do with 4 people.

Tradeshows still bite.

Are tradeshows a good place to meet management, from product managers to GMs and CEOs of the multi-billion dollar companies that are most important to us? Are tradeshows a good place for you to expect a long conversation about your work so that these managers will understand your very specific and personal needs?

No.

Are road shows? Yes.

Are tradeshows a good place to discuss development strategies with the people developing those strategies?

No.

Are road shows? Yes.

Are tradeshows the best way for you to kiss your wife and kids every night before you go to sleep? The best way to keep your work on track and your clients happy?

Uhm, no.

Roadshows blah blah blah.

Look, I've done both booth time and road shows with Avid, Boris, Media 100, and even though I didn't do any for Adobe, I certainly saw it in action. The people you want most to meet are at road shows. The conversations you most want to have are at roadshows.

Road shows are the place for meaningful communication. Trade shows are just about the worst.

So why should this be an either/or proposition?

Because the people you want doing the work are exactly the ones sucked into tradeshow planning, starting in October, and pedal to the metal from January to May. Is this really what you want them to do?

The advantage for companies opting out is that they free up as much as tens of thousands of person-hours to do exactly what you want them to do -- fix the existing bugs and build new features. They free themselves from arbitrary deadlines.

Tradeshows are most valuable for you to meet the people you already know, and to meet some that you only know online. They may be an okay place for you to learn a few things about a product, but if you had the chance to talk with GM or CEO of your favorite company face to face, and sleep in your own bed, wouldn't you make that trade off?

So this is about twice as long as I meant it to be...but typical for me. Neither Avid nor Graham need me to speak for them. This is me telling you that tradeshows are already irrelevant for anything important between you and your favorite vendors.

And my own experience that you'll get the contact you most want, face to face, closer to where you live, from a road show.

This is a business forum. This strategy is good business. Once you experience this yourself, your word of mouth will be the best marketing imaginable.

The sermon is ended. Go in peace to love and serve your wife.

tw





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Ron Lindeboom
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 2:25:47 pm

Hello Graham,

I must say, we appreciate you taking the time to sign up here at the COW and to don your bullet-proof vest and come in here and address the crowd.

This kind of appearance is exactly the kind of thing that Tim and I (and others) have been arguing is far more apt to happen online or at a roadshow, than on the battlefloor of NAB.

I have met many Avid leaders in the past, David Krall, Chas Smith, et al, but it is always just a few minutes and then they are off to something else or I have to run to an appointment. It's the nature of the beast.

But it's different in the roadshows that I have been to, the most recent was a two day trip to San Jose to hang out with about 10 key people from Adobe to see the CS3 line before it shipped. We went to breakfast lunch and dinner together. We talked. I complained about some of the most obvious things that they had done wrong, core things that really needed to be addressed. Around the table sat some pretty savvy people and they piped in with their own versions and additions to what I was saying.

It was something the like of which I have never seen in all my years at NAB. It just doesn't happen. Well, at least not for me.

One of the things that surprised me in your recent move, is that you were able to pull it off as quickly as you did. Tim and I had been talking that we expected that Avid would be the first major to put down their foot and say "no more" to NAB's ever skyrocketing costs and fees. But we figured that you had at least one more year of being there. That you did it in your first year at the helm is a surprise.

So, gutsy move, Graham. :o)

Thank you for stopping by and I'm glad someone warned you to don the asbestos undies before you came, you will likely need them with some of the people who visit here at the COW.

If you have the time, Tim and I would like to record a podcast with you discussing your recent appointment, what you are up to, your goals, why no booth at NAB in 2008, etc., if you have the time. Interested?


Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Raymond Motion Pictures
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 8:40:06 pm

[GrahamS] "Hey guys,

great discussion - and btw, we deserve it.

Just let me say one thing - we do care about our user base and we are starting to listen ( I agree we didn't used to do either).

I find the concept of NAB arrogant - we plant a big flag in the middle of Vegas and say 'come to us' - the few thousand that do show up we then shout at for an hour in the din - what a great concept!

I am acutely aware you guys pay my (and every other Avid employees salary) so you have my attention.

Things are changing."


Hello Graham,

If I may suggest something... Assign a person or two to 'Cow Duty.' Jan Crittenton from Panasonic does a bang up job of correcting misconceptions and rumors about Panasonic right here on the Cow. I think that would really help communicate the new Avid even while in the making.

Randall Raymond


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Raymond Motion Pictures
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 4:52:43 am

[Bob Cole] "A major provider of editing equipment was planning to show their new, voice-actuated editing console at NAB. Problem was, it wasn't ready. So the "editor" on the stage would give a verbal command, which the EDITOR behind the curtain would punch into the machine manually, and the edit would magically perform. Very impressive, until someone tripped on a curtain and revealed the Wizard of Oz and the trick.

That can't be a true story. Or... is it?"


Oh, come on! Trade Shows, by definition, assume a knowledgeable crowd. Exhibitors are not there to deceive you...as your myth implies. I really detest that attitude. I'm in advertising - if you think I'm trying to trick you - fine. And, yes, we do take that attitude in consideration.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 5:25:02 am

[Raymond Motion Pictures] "Exhibitors are not there to deceive you... I really detest that attitude. I'm in advertising..."

Advertising, such a noble business, and always with the consumer's best interest in mind.


David Roth Weiss
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Raymond Motion Pictures
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 5:58:10 am

[David Roth Weiss] "Advertising, such a noble business, and always with the consumer's best interest in mind."

It is noble and needed. The communication of truth is advertising. Look at what lasts against those who lie. Has the paradigm shifted all that much from the ads on the Pompeii walls?


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Bob Cole
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 3:20:07 pm

Wow. Welcome, Graham.

I used to look forward to NAB as a source of information. It seemed like an oasis in the desert: the few days in the year when you could feast on the latest in tv technology. With this website, Google, and the Internet in general, you can have all you want, every day.

[Raymond Motion Pictures] "if you think I'm trying to trick you - fine."

Not you personally, of course. But NAB trickery is well-documented, as in a demo I attended for an NLE system which had a big booth at NAB and enjoyed a brief vogue. The presenter must have had his script vetted by the legal department. He would very quickly do some basic edits in a pre-produced, dazzling video full of special effects, and say, "The XYZ now has REAL-TIME dissolves, chroma-keying, split-screens, particle wipes..." trying to convey the idea that the whole video we were watching had been created in real-time. I was a bit more naive at the time, until a friend took me aside and said, "The only real-time effect was the dissolve -- and most of the rest was probably After Effects."

I'm a happy FCP user, but at the last NAB I attended (2006) the Apple reps kept saying, even one-on-one, "it's all real-time," even after I said, "You mean, it has a LOT of real-time features, right? Not all." I guess it's not lying, if they believed it.

Just curious Raymond: What do you mean by "we take that attitude into consideration?"

Bob C

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Raymond Motion Pictures
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 3:55:06 pm

[Bob Cole] "Just curious Raymond: What do you mean by "we take that attitude into consideration?""

Just that there are people who distrust and even hate salesmen, the pitch and advertising in general. They are sometimes, (or is it always?), targeted as a market.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 5:39:38 pm

[Raymond Motion Pictures] "there are people who distrust and even hate salesmen, the pitch and advertising in general. They are sometimes, (or is it always?), targeted as a market."

Those are the one's presumably with the advertiser's targets pinned on their backs...

The other two groups are: 1) willing sheep, with the targets pinned on the front; and 2) the lemmings, no targets required.

David Roth Weiss
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Ron Lindeboom
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 5:48:42 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "Those are the one's presumably with the advertiser's targets pinned on their backs... The other two groups are: 1) willing sheep, with the targets pinned on the front; and 2) the lemmings, no targets required."


David,

As ever, you are one of the true masters of prose and metaphor.

Ever your fan,

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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David Roth Weiss
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 6:09:25 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "As ever, you are one of the true masters of prose and metaphor."

And a big moo to you too...

I'm glad you noticed that one Ron. That shot was particularly appealing to my eye, and so I was able to squeeze off a few accurate rounds this time.

Good to see you out and about playing in the pasture again...

All the best,
David

David Roth Weiss
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Ron Lindeboom
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 17, 2007 at 6:44:08 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "Good to see you out and about playing in the pasture again..."


I have some time as I just finished designing the new issue of Creative COW Magazine. Mister Wilson did a masterful job of getting some wonderful content and co-ordinating the stories so our obligatory paean to the great 70's concept albums, lives on. The theme for this issue is "Commercials: History, Strategies, Design, Techniques and More."

It will go online Monday for download and I think that it may be the best issue we have done to date. But the marketplace will decide that.

In the meantime, I better get back to one of my newer concept albums, Sufjan Stevens' "(Come On Feel The) Illinoise." He's like a bit of Todd Rundgren thrown in with a bit of REM, Dan Fogelberg and a smattering of 60s things -- all steeped in just the right musical spices for flavor.

And like a good commercial, Yum!

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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ronsuss
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 5:37:42 pm

At last years show Shake was nowhere to be found at the Apple booth because Apple had nothing new to show for that product and it will more than likely be integrated into FCP and or Motion in the near future. But its absence led to much speculation and many rumors. Avid does indeed need to streamline and focus and the decision to not be at NAB may allow them to do just that. None the less it is fueling rumors and speculation about the future of Avid in general and lets face it, everyone gets a good ten year run in this industry and if you don't keep up with the demands of your clients and the changes in technology you go away, no matter how entrenched you are in the industry. Least we forget EMC2, Editdroid, and others I can't even remember. and even though I am cutting on FCP, I would hate to see Avid go away.


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walter biscardi
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 5:55:33 pm

[ronsuss] "At last years show Shake was nowhere to be found at the Apple booth because Apple had nothing new to show for that product and it will more than likely be integrated into FCP and or Motion in the near future. But its absence led to much speculation and many rumors."

Actually it was announced by Apple prior to NAB that Shake was EOL and was due to be replaced by a new application. You can't roll all the Shake features into Motion and FCP. It's too deep of a compositing / SFX tool.

Some of the features can be used by other apps, like Optical Flow, but as for totally moving all the features into Motion and FCP, that won't happen. The only way for that to happen is for Motion to be completely re-invented again, but I suspect Apple will release a new high end SFX tool to be a nice compliment to Color.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Ron Lindeboom
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 6:23:46 pm

[ronsuss] "Avid does indeed need to streamline and focus and the decision to not be at NAB may allow them to do just that. None the less it is fueling rumors and speculation about the future of Avid in general and lets face it, everyone gets a good ten year run in this industry and if you don't keep up with the demands of your clients and the changes in technology you go away, no matter how entrenched you are in the industry."

Most of the people discussing this and crying out "The End IS Near!" are not Avid customers. Of those that are "Avid" customers, they seem to be largely those who own either Xpress or Liquid -- hardly Avid's "core" market.

If Avid had never released Xpress or acquired Liquid, they be be hardly much different than they are right now, as Avid's real business is far from either Xpress or Liquid.

That is not to insult either product or the users of them, it is just that I'd rather buy into where a company is firmly entrenched rather than where they are merely scratching the surface of a market.

Example?

Why yes, I do have one as a matter of fact...

Back when I bought my first Media 100 v1.2 back in 1994, Avid had a product called Avid Media Suite Pro.

Many of my friends that I knew back then who were aware of the nonlinear systems and had been working with Toasters and other systems, recommended that I put my money on Avid. They told me I should get a Media Suite Pro.

But I had been in the aerospace industry for a while and knew of Data Translation (who originated the Media 100) and so I told my friends that these people at DT were the ones that taught the CIA how to compress, acquire and broadcast images from satellites out in the Clark Orbital Belt. I gambled that Media 100 would have the suds -- and they did, for years. At the time that Avid users were arguing that you couldn't online with a nonlinear system and that "...that is why companies have invented EDL software, dummy" -- me and all my Media 100 friends like Nick Griffin, Tim Wilson and others were working with a system that could online.

It was where Media 100 put all their focus. It was all they did at the time. We got all their attention -- well, until they lost focus years later, thinking that they could become iMovie or something.

Our "money-spent equals" who gambled on the entry-level Avids at the time? They fared not so well, as Avid didn't pay much attention to Media Suite Pro users. (I converted many of them to Media 100 users and made quite a business for a while out of consulting with these users.)

Do people weight their options rightly? Not really, as it happened again.

Later Avid acquired Plum and took the Plum editor into Avid and made it into a short-lived product called Avid MCXpress, as I recall. In a company that was largely almost entirely Windows at the time, a few intrepid souls began buying MCXpress for Windows. Smartest move these buyers ever made? Probably not. It wasn't long and MCXpress was gone and Avid was trying to upgrade these users from a $10,000 to $15,000 system to Avid's real products, that were $100,000 and up. Did many bite? I don't know of one that I ever knew.

For a short while, I used an Avid Xpress Elite that ran on Mac -- the Windows version of this one was much better -- and liked it for a while. But Avid, once again, didn't pay their lower-end tools a lot of attention.

I had gambled that as the market grew, Avid would realize that with greater numbers they could make a lot of money at the more entry-level of their systems base. But I lost that gamble as both Avid and Autodesk/Discreet realized that chasing $1,000 systems didn't make much sense for them.

The $1,000 strategy works for many companies but not for companies that are geared the way that Avid, Discreet and others are geared.

If I were to consult with Avid again today, I would recommend that they take hard looks at how best to use Pinnacle as their lower-end. Move Liquid back to Pinnacle. Make it the rocket-engine of that line, not the bastard step-child to the Avid line.

Take a lesson from SGI -- who scrapped plans to release video monitor boards that would have trounced ATI and nVidia in the market -- SGI said that they didn't want to compete between themselves. So they didn't.

The lesson?

A multi-billion dollar industry happened in which they had no part. But one which they could have owned.

Instead, SGI has faded into obscurity and is a shadow of its one-time glory and prominence in the market.

There are two lessons in this post:
  • As a user, make sure that you buy into a company's core business as it will get their real attention. (Step-children only rarely get the real inheritance and affection.)
  • As a company, don't be afraid to gamble your teams against one another. (If SGI had done so, they would likely be driving all of our monitors right now and sitting on a wad of cash, instead of watching most all they had float away in the changing winds of the market.)




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Ron Lindeboom
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Julie Hill
Re: NAB-Where's Apple?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 7:03:32 pm

I've been reading with interest about all the speculation as to why AVID has pulled from NAB. In checking the NAB Exhibitor list and the floor map, I was also suprised to see that APPLE is nowhere listed. Hmmm, what goes here?


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: NAB-Where's Apple?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 7:21:12 pm



I think that the operative word here is "opportunism," Julie.

Another term might be "jockeying for marketing advantage" or "make NAB chase you."

:o)

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walter biscardi
Re: NAB-Where's Apple?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 7:41:17 pm

[Julie Hill] "I've been reading with interest about all the speculation as to why AVID has pulled from NAB. In checking the NAB Exhibitor list and the floor map, I was also suprised to see that APPLE is nowhere listed. Hmmm, what goes here?"

No surprise there. Those maps are never finalized until the last moment. I'm thinking it has something to do with that 80 foot by 80 foot floor (or larger) space that's suddenly available right up front.....

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Julie Hill
Re: NAB-Where's Apple?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 7:53:03 pm

That is true that nothing is ever finalized until the day of the show and even then it's still subject to change. However I was surprised that Apple wasn't on the exhibitor list itself when it had been from booth selection around April 2007 until about two weeks ago.


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walter biscardi
Re: NAB-Where's Apple?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 8:00:32 pm

[Julie Hill] "However I was surprised that Apple wasn't on the exhibitor list itself when it had been from booth selection around April 2007 until about two weeks ago."

You mean about the same time Avid announced (most like to NAB first) that they were pulling off the showroom floor.......

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Julie Hill
Re: NAB-Where's Apple?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 8:11:27 pm

I had checked the floor map shortly before I left for HD Expo in Burbank around November 5th. It was while I was away at GV Expo in DC last week that I heard about AVID. So, curiously I looked at the NAB site and saw no mention of Apple either. Which, I thought was a tad strange since they had been there earlier (on the exhibitor list and on the map-which does change constantly but not at a constant rate).


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Rennie
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 6:44:53 pm

[Bob Cole] "That can't be a true story. Or... is it?
"


I'm not familiar with the demo you are referring to but I have seen very similar things going on at road show demos. To mention brands might sway off the topic of this thread too much so I'll avoid revealing that. In this scenario the product was a low end version designed to compete with the rapidly advancing fcp systems just new to the market. The booth was set up with 2 systems and 2 editor/hosts who could have been clones(they both new the system and it's short comings equally well) and the added bonus, an attractive MC style host in fishnets. In short, when one system crashed the editor would signal the "legs" into action. She could jump in strutting and talking (multi talented) and intro editor #2 who was following along editor #1 so he would just pick up and continue while editor #1 would re-boot and get back up to speed. When editor #2 crashed they jumped to the fishnets then back to #1 and so on. The more often this happened those who caught on would glance around the room at one another. They finally got through their presentation and I suspect only 10% of the people new about the constant crashes. To those 10% it was obvious the whole presentation was a well scripted art of deception to cover up the crashes that were only too common in nonlinear edit systems of the time. We would have been more interested in the product if they hadn't tried to hide things.
Another time I was at one and someone in the crowd called out "can fcp do that?" NO WAY came the reply you couldn't do this in fcp! I was not brazen enough to shout otherwise from the back of the room so I just bit my tongue.
Conversely, another experience was at nab while watching a demo for Newtek toaster just after it had gotten up and running on windows nt. The demonstrator just was alone on a 2x6' table and he finally just looked at me and said "it's really a powerfully system but we haven't got all the bugs out yet" as it crashed again. I've always kept a positive feeling in my memory for newtek since that time.

"in the 90's people are going to try to sell you things that you should ought not to buy" - Frank Zappa


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 7:31:26 pm

[Rennie] "In short, when one system crashed the editor would signal the "legs" into action. She could jump in strutting and talking (multi talented) and intro editor #2 who was following along editor #1 so he would just pick up and continue while editor #1 would re-boot and get back up to speed. When editor #2 crashed they jumped to the fishnets then back to #1 and so on. The more often this happened those who caught on would glance around the room at one another. They finally got through their presentation and I suspect only 10% of the people new about the constant crashes. To those 10% it was obvious the whole presentation was a well scripted art of deception to cover up the crashes that were only too common in nonlinear edit systems of the time."

I saw this demo and have to agree, Rennie, it was one of the most ludicrous presentations that I had ever seen at NAB.

There were rock solid systems in those days, too. I had one of them and loved it. In fact, I still use it today, even though many others feel the obligation to buy every upgrade that comes along.

Me, I subscribe to the "if a hammer still drives nails, it's a good hammer" school of tool buying and usage.

For some, chasing the upgrade trail is a great thing but for others, solid is good...just ask the lady on the stage that had to tremble with every crash of that "magic thing in the big black box" that kept her on her toes at NAB.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
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Bob Cole
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 7:42:42 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "I saw this demo"

Very funny. But so far, nobody remembers the alleged voice-actuated editing system run by the person behind the curtain, right?

Darn. I was hoping that this one was real. I think about it every time the Wizard of Oz runs on tv, which is about monthly.

It would be refreshing for someone to get up there and say, "Here's the technology, it is absolutely the latest stuff, and very buggy, but you didn't fly all the way here to see last year's stuff, so enjoy the show and hold your breath because sometime in the next ten minutes we're gonna crash."

To be the devil's advocate about big trade shows, when you're in the mood for them, they are actually kind of fun. But the big slick shows are boring. I like the funky little booths with the dreamers. My favorite in 2006 was the little helicopter with the even smaller DV camera in it for your low-budget aerials.

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Mark Suszko
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 8:13:50 pm

Have been resisting mightily to comment further:-) But the anecdotes reminded me of what used to be the Chicago version of NAB once NAB left Chicago, the annual shindig at the now-defunct (removes hat) Swiderski Brothers...

One of my best memories of this was back when the Pinnacle Alladin was brand new and nobody had heard of it yet. Suites were linear A/B roll umatic or beta to one-inch, and your high-end graphics were limited to ADO or Abekas DVE, and while these could do a lot of cool things, they cost a LOT at the time, too rich for a place like our shop. We were hurting for good graphics, with only a VP-2 Chyron and it's 2 fonts in three sizes, fancy titling was made for us by staff artists painting and using ink, paint, letraset and zipatone on card stock shot under a suspended Ikegami 79e. We tried hard but were sorely limited in the "looks" we could give. The rich guys across town ha da Quantel Paintbox I lusted for, they charged improbable rates for very simple work on it. I went to the Swids show that year and met Paul Holtz, who was sitting at a card-table-sized booth doing a one-man demo to anybody who'd care to walk by. Not many were.

What this reminded me of strongly was an old Volkswagen commercial that itself was a fake retro look at fifties car shows, each booth more bombastic than the next, touting concept cars with things like huge tailfin size or a guy in a lab coat with a pointer expounding on the number of decorative portholes in the sides of the engine compartment... and off in the corner is a nebbishy little guy in a gray suit with a VW bug, quietly talking about what made the car special...

This is what Paul was doing with the Alladin. I watched from a distance for a while, then came closer as I realized what I was seeing was a DVE that, while only single-channel, was stupendously easy to use in realtime without complex programming... and that it ran off a regular PC... that it came with still stores, it's own virtual switcher, chromakeyer, a paintbox system, a really nice (at the time) CG with hundreds of fonts and even a bundled 3-d animation program. For less than half what an Abekas was going for at the time. I kept asking "Can it do so-and-so?" "Yes, here, I'll show you". That refrain went on for maybe 40 minutes. The next closest thing to the capabilities of this box at the time was a Video Toaster, but at that time the toaster's output was still a little on the rough side, and again, the price was higher.

Next day I told my boss I had seen a single little box and software that would immediately make our edit suite look and work like the big boys downtown, for chump change. We got one and people walking by our edit suite would do a "Kramer" at the door as they saw us do some amazing things. We still use two of those Alladins today, long after Pinnacle dropped them, the first of many mistakes that company made, IMO.

But we'd hardly have noticed or heard of them if it wasn't for Paul Holtz's demo skills and ablity to explain the unit.
Paul's a great guy in my book. He's still a pretty good VAR as far as I know, though he probably does more training video production now than anything.



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Mark Suszko
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 8:24:34 pm

Speaking of urban legends, one I had always heard about NAB's convention leaving it's early home in Chicago concerned what happened to Sony one year at McCormick Place. The story goes that the Sony engineers set up their own gear in the hall without using or consulting with the union guys. Or paying them, apparently. Overnight, some kind of suspicious electrical fire consumed the entire Sony booth and gear. Sony refused to come back and others followed them out West. I'm a pro-union guy, but even I have to say it makes little sense to wait two hours for an electrician to come over and plug your stinger into a wall socket a foot away for fifty bucks or more. Somewhere a realistic balance needs to be forged if we're all to keep making a living.

Story may be apocryphal, and there were certainly other practical reasons the show moved west to Vegas: bigger halls, a limit of available hotel rooms in Chicago, crummy April weather, fewer union problems in Vegas, the allure of gambling and evening entertainment options to what was then pretty uniformly an all-male clientele. I'm curious if anyone else had similar stories from the Chicago days?


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walter biscardi
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 8:38:05 pm

My first year at CNN (1990) NAB was in Atlanta at the World Congress Center. I remember that clearly because it was the year that Sony introduced the D2 deck. Overnight all our Betacam Recorder in B Control were replaced with D2's so they would be in place for the show. Sony must have brought thousands of prospective buyers through B-Control that week.

I remember that none of us could shuttle the darn things because they were so doggone fast.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
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John Davidson
Re: NAB Urban Legend?
on Nov 19, 2007 at 9:01:46 pm

Ahhh. Good ole' b-control. How many times did I hide there on overnights? ....and those D2 decks. I'm getting misty eyed just just thinking about 'em.


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grinner
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 24, 2007 at 12:42:02 am

Avid has changed a lot in the last decade. In selling more boxes of software to the consumer world and less product to the professional world, it was bound to become less than cost effective to hit expos geared toward this demographic. They passed the torch. Most of those prolly didnt see em passing it to fcp and premiere but as those products get better and better, well, we just have not seen much effort from Avid in quite some time now.
They use to be specialists. Now they have nothing very special.



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