Issue: Editing - March 2008


LAS VEGAS — Back in November, Avid announced that it wouldn't be exhibiting at NAB 2008 and instead would find ways to reach its users on a more intimate level. Four months later — armed with 150 pages of customer input, countless one-on-one meetings and extensive blog research — Avid started talking about its “New Thinking” customer-focused initiatives.

A big aspect of this new thinking is simplifying the Avid editing line, and that includes making the entry-level Xpress Pro go away. “As people come up the curve they want to be in the Media Composer line, and Xpress Pro really wasn't doing it for them,” explains Avid's chief marketing officer, Greg Estes. Avid planned to sell the software until Q2, but will not offer support contracts on it. “We really want the Xpress Pro person to move into Media Composer,” he says.

The company is also reducing the price of its Media Composer by 50 percent to $2,495, making it Avid's new entry-level software. Existing Xpress Pro users can upgrade to Media Composer software for $495. Other Avid editing system pricing remains the same.

In terms of students, Avid is going after them big time by offering the Academic version of Media Composer software for $295, which is the same software but without some third-party content.
Estes says a huge part of Avid's plans going forward is aimed at fostering dialogue and helping customers be successful as well as building a community. One way they are doing that is through, which offers blog networks, customer-  and Avid-submitted tips and tutorials, and a video exchange where customers can upload, share, rate and comment on content. There are also portfolios, where people can create personalized pages with bios, resumes and samples of work; social networking features, so visitors can interact directly with others in the community; and a job marketplace.

Another part of Avid's “new thinking” is continuing with its Make Your Mark tours, which are open to aspiring filmmakers, music producers, animators and game designers interested in learning from industry pros about what it takes to break into these different genres. Make Your Mark will now show up at events such as Sundance and SXSW.

There is new online support ( as well. It's available 24/7, there are faster and better search features, and it fosters a two-way dialogue, IM style. “We will continue to make investments in better support and providing more value there,” promises Estes.

Avid is very passionate about helping aspiring artists build their careers, says Estes. “Sometimes that's going to be introducing them to a famous director, sometimes it's going to be giving them better access to tips and tricks, sometimes it's going to be creating a space where they can ask an Avid engineer a question, or getting them out there with customers.”

During NAB, Avid will be in Las Vegas meeting with customers, and Avid gear will be in partner booths. They are also hosting customer appreciation events on Sunday and Monday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

“It was pretty clear how the 'Old Avid' had been perceived,” notes Estes. “They wanted us to do some things differently.” And that's exactly what they are doing.