Issue: June 1, 2008


Neither Avid nor Apple exhibited at NAB this year, but Post did sit down in Las Vegas with Avid’s new CEO, Gary Greenfield, and new VP/GM, Kirk Arnold, to talk about Avid’s “new thinking,” and new editing products. They emphasized repeatedly that Avid’s resurgence would begin with listening to their customers. Obviously, this is where they feel Avid lost its footing in the first place.

Greenfield is very impressed with how “committed and loyal” post people are. “I’ve never seen such a passionate group of customers, and that passion shows up with exuberance and with frustration, such as in the letters we get, but every single one of them, you know they care about what they are saying.”
Greenfield and Arnold come to Avid from the enterprise IT service and product side of the business world. “We’ve both been involved with companies that have been one or two in the market and we helped bring back the same qualities that made them one or two in the market,” Greenfield says, and that begins with “great customer service, thought leadership, attention to the customer, not just to the products or services. Operational excellence is equally important within the company.”

Arnold concurs and also praises Avid’s workforce, while taking a poke at Apple. “We are about this industry, and unlike some of our emerging competitors, this is what we do and this is what we are going to continue to do. We will service both the enterprise and the professional, as well as the home user of this technology base. What we bring to this is the experience that can facilitate great people doing the right thing for our customers.”

She also hints at a new business opportunity for Avid. “There are segments in this industry that are increasingly looking for us to go beyond our product portfolio into services. We think that’s a transition that will offer additional opportunity.” Arnold wouldn’t get specific on what kinds of services.

Consulting is another way they plan on helping customers, something Arnold says they are already doing with broadcasters: “We feel it’s an important part of the puzzle.”

Greenfield says he’s tackling stronger integration between the video editing products and Digidesign Pro Tools. “They don’t work as well together as they should. It’s been 15 years, it’s not like we did this acquisition recently.” He sums up, “We are going to step back and take a look at that whole customer experience.”

Outspoken, longtime Avid customer Jonathan Moser, still believes Avid has an uphill battle against Apple. He says: “I did an extensive read of their new product line. There are some great improvements, better functionality, speed and responsiveness. Impressive, but nothing I’d consider earth-shaking. Pricing is probably the biggest step to competitiveness.” More on that to come.