IBC 2008 - Day 2
Avid, which was famously absent from NAB this year, is here with a smallish (compared to what they used to do at NAB in the past) booth and hinting that will also be the case at NAB 2009.
"It's important for us to be here," said Avid VP/GM Kirk Arnold during an early morning breakfast roundtable with Avid execs that had a speed dating feel, with each table getting someone different after about ten minutes. After NAB 2008, they heard from their customers, who said it was important to see Avid at the show, and that in turn helps these editors/post house guys sell Avid technology to their own clients.
CEO Gary Greenfield was emphasizing integrated workflows, and the fact that Dave Lebolt, who used to head Digidesign Pro Tools and is now CTO of Avid, indicates that we will be seeing increased interactivity between Avid editing tools and Pro Tools. Something that the newly hired Martin Vann, formerly of Autodesk, emphasized by saying that audio and video cannot be thought of as separate "silos."
I asked Avid/Digi's Paul Foeckler how they kept and continue to keep Pro Tools from losing its spot at the top of the audio post heap. He said, "We have always had Pro Tools segmented at different price points," and he pointed to what Lebolt calls "the inspirational ladder," giving beginners an upward path. Something that Avid knows needs to be done with their editing tools - and the lower-priced software version of Media Composer is a good start. Arnold touted Avid's seven-month-old education initiative and said, "We need to talk to professors about how they use Avid in their curriculum, and we need to get to the next generation."
Avid readily admits they made mistakes - losing market share to Apple - and seem truly intentioned to do better. They know that talking to their key customers on a regular basis will help them not lose sight of where they need to be.