By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Gee, it seems like it wasn’t all that long ago that the word Avid was synonymous with editing. The very word “Avid” was almost like “Kleenex, “Q-Tip” and “Xerox,” brand names that became descriptive of what they did. Then the personal computer came along and video editing went mainstream. And the more powerful they got, the easier it became for editors to cut movies on them.
Suddenly, Avid became an albatross. Seeking to evolve, Avid tried to diversify with purchases of M-Audio and, ironically, Pinnacle studios which had its own PC editor along with several video capture hardware solutions. But, like Kodak before it, Avid is struggling a ticking clock of extinction. And so, like Kodak before it, Avid had a fire sale of assets.
It’s been pretty clear for some time that Avid’s attempts at seeking a beachhead in the consumer world were failing. It’s too bad, because both M-Audio and Pinnacle make some pretty good consumer and prosumer level gadgets for filmmaking. But at the end of the day, Avid’s bean counters didn’t like the math and realized their best bet was to sell them both off. And today, the deals closed on both properties. M-Audio, maker of consumer level microphones, audio controllers, audio IO devices, and speakers, has been snatched up by inMusic, while Pinnacle Systems will go to consumer computer software giant Corel.
Both deals are worth a combined $17 million dollars, a move which looks to save Avid more than $80 million a year, even though they’ll lose almost $100 million in income in the process. But according to industry experts, the margins that Avid was enjoying were substantially lower than expected.
Most of that savings will come from payroll, as Avid’s total employee count will drop to about 1,500. The sad part of this is that while some of Avid’s more than 350 affected employees will be kept and transferred to their new overlords, a large majority of them will be let go over time as manufacturing plants will be closed and operations are shifted.
Avid expects that now this experiment in consumerism has been concluded, that their focus on their “media enterprise” division – which includes mostly hardware for broadcasters and news organizations – and that they will be back to an 8-10 point growth curve in the years to come, along with 2 to 3 percent growth amongst the “post production and professional” market. Frankly, I think that’s a bit unrealistic. Seriously. Does ANYONE still use Avid anymore in filmmaking or television? (Editor’s note: Major films and TV shows do, but Final Cut Pro and now Adobe Premiere Pro have eaten into its marketshare.) Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree here, but I haven’t seen an Avid machine being used for nearly a decade. Maybe it’s true for news, weather and sports, but can you really keep a corporation alive in that segment? Especially with budding TV stations popping up, thanks to low cost equipment and live streaming video?
I think that in due course, Avid’s going to be seeing the same story all over again. And before long, it’ll be a footnote in the history of video editing. Then again, the way things are going, that may be true for a lot of the big boys.
Source: Studio Daily