Avid Technology feels serious heat from Apple Inc.

Apple Store“Visual artist Maurice Methot still has fond memories of the video editing software he once used – Media Composer, the flagship product of Avid Technology Inc. in Tewksbury. ‘It was a beautiful tool,’ Methot said. ‘It was rock-solid,'” Hiawatha Bray reports for The Boston Globe.

“But Methot, associate professor of visual and media arts at Emerson College in Boston, hasn’t touched Media Composer in years, and neither do the students in his classes. He teaches video editing with Final Cut Pro, a program created by Apple Inc. that’s become a major rival to Media Composer,” Bray reports.

“‘The investment to get into a Final Cut system seems to be quite a bit less than even a low-end Avid,’ said Methot. Yet Final Cut Pro is so good, it’s used to edit major Hollywood films like this year’s Oscar winner, ‘No Country For Old Men,'” Bray reports.

“Last month, Avid struck back by slashing the price of Media Composer from $5,000 to $2,500. Perhaps more significantly, Avid introduced an academic version, available to college students for just $295. Final Cut Pro is hugely popular in college video-editing courses, and Avid’s academic pricing is a bid to ensure that the editors of the future are comfortable with Avid software as well,” Bray reports.

“Meanwhile, Avid’s also eager to capitalize on the surging popularity of amateur video production. In 2005, the company spent $462 million to acquire Pinnacle Systems, the leading maker of home video editing software. Yet Avid CEO Gary Greenfield acknowledged that Avid is only breaking even in its home video business, and revenue in that segment declined slightly last year,” Bray reports.

More in the full article here.

36 Comments

  1. Finally a topic I know a lot about. It’s not simply a matter of pricing that’s killing Avid. It’s the fact that they are sticking to the old way of doing business. Where Apple gives you everything right out of the box for a thousand bucks or so, Avid gimps up their software offerings and structures the prices accordingly. Want more than just the basics? Pay up.

    I began editing with Media Composer in ’95 and switched to FCP a few years ago. Final Cut isn’t perfect by any means but you can tell by the frequent (and major) upgrades that Apple is serious about trying to make it perfect.

    Another factor is that people are more attached to the Mac than their editing software. A few years ago, when it looked like Avid might drop Mac support altogether, I told our Avid rep that I’d drop them before I’d drop my Mac, period. He seemed surprised by that but I imagine they heard that a lot.

  2. “Last month, Avid struck back by slashing the price of Media Composer from $5,000 to $2,500.”

    Smell that? It’s not your upper lip. It’s the stink of desperation. Adapt or die.

  3. Ditto on the last part of Red Hot Ryder’s comments. In the beginning Avid was a Mac only product but when they started developing for Windows they started slowing their Mac development almost immediately, and ultimately tried to drop Mac development altogether. A scenario not completely unlike that of Adobe – at least in principle. I think Avid shot themselves in the foot when they tried to drop Mac development and they’ve been trying to make up the difference ever since.

    Avid is also the parent company to Digidesign, the makers of ProTools. To the credit of Digidesign they were generally not willing to slow their Mac software development when they started developing for Windows, even though there was a brief period when their Windows updates were coming out before the Mac updates, and several midwestern based authorized ProTools dealers were pushing the Windows products over the Mac, even to Mac based production rooms.

    I don’t see why developers like Avid and Adobe don’t ever seem to be able to see the light – when they start out as a Mac software developer, establish themselves, then try to drop the platform, it never ever works in their favor – But they keep trying. Adobe had Premiere or the Mac, then they didn’t, now they do again. Avid had Avid Express for the Mac, then they didn’t, now they do again.

    MS must push their “partners” very hard on this issue – especially when the partner is a former Mac developer. Really, the best thing is to stay away from developing for MS Windows. I realize why developers started crossing over in the early and middle 90’s, but the Mac is well on its way back up and there is plenty of money to made developing solid products for the Macintosh platform. Come back, not just begrudgingly, but with your whole heart. It’s good here, very very good.

  4. No everyone is married to their HW/OS vendor over their editing suite.

    There are many editors died in the wool AVID that will never leave. For the true pro, it is about efficiency, and $20k for a system that does not deliver any sort of 3-6 month learning curve, but puts money into their pockets, they’ll stay right where they are.

    Apple has simply been undercutting AVID in prince point, moving north to match AVID in feature set, and hitting the educational market hard. Those students have been bleeding into the pro space for years, and AVID is only now waking up to the cold hard fact (for AVID), that these people are staying Mac and FCP.

    Personally, I have a friend who could easily move to FCP Studio, and save himself $15k easy, but he won’t do it. He’ll continue to listen to the AVID sales guy at the local pro video store, tell him ignorant information about FCP (or outright lies), probably because he makes a much higher commission rate on AVID, and my friend will drink the coolaid so he can feel good about staying AVID Media Composer.

    My friend should schedule a meeting with the Studio Genius at an Apple Store, and hear both sides of the story… won’t happen though. He’s died in the wool AVID and I’m died in the wool Mac so there you go.

  5. I hate to say it, but this warms my heart. (no, I don’t hate to say it.)

    All those years that Avid “stuck it to me”, with not only horrible pricing, but also buggy software. I’ll never forget the Radius rep asking me, “you’re paying how much for beta testing their supposedly final version software?”
    Too many hours were spent waiting in queue to talk to tech support.
    Argh! Bad memories… can’t go there.

    I switched to Final Cut from day one, and haven’t looked back. Avid was better than linear editing, in it’s day… but that day is over!
    Thank you Apple for FCP!

  6. All this PLUS the fact that Avid has announced that they are cutting Xpress Pro products and going to offer media composer ONLY. Either software only or with hardware.

    Plus, let us all contemplete this a bit further. With 8-core machine beginning to become commonplace, what are all going to NEED hardware acceleration for. Namely, Avid Nitrs/Adrenelne and Pro Tools HD systems.

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  7. With Avid there is no integration (not even to Avid Pro Tools) for the music score product it requires a lot of retiming and general mucking about. With Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio it’s a direct integration and the timing matches without all the mucking about and retiming your score. Avid Media Composer is old and clunky. I’ve scored some TV shows and did some songs for movies. In production time is money and with Final Cut and Logic the production is more efficient and faster. Cost is also a consideration for the price of one Avid Media Composer station with all the add-on required to equal a Final Cut station you can run 3 or more Final Cut Stations that are more productive so, you can get your product to a more polished level faster and at a lower price point.

  8. Avid and Digi use convoluted, over priced and hardware schemes. They have convinced people that they are “industry standard”. Bunch of B.S.. They use the same ridiculousness to try to push people to Protools over Logic. To use their “better” software you need their “better” hardware. You can run a Final Cut or Logic Studio for a fraction of the cost, have more track counts, more power and interface versatility………… or you can throw (many thousands) more money away on “industry standard” hardware and have the same ole’ results. Same applys to Adobe….. They’re next. Think out of the box….. or should I say out of the DSP card/interface. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  9. Michael Wohl, a video editor who was hired by Apple, along with Randy Ubillos, the designer of Adobe Premier/Macromedia Final Cut, recounts the story of their first meeting with Steve Jobs regarding the development of Final Cut Pro. They all sat down at an Avid and compared it to the emerging FCP, where upon Steve says “Make it like the Avid, after all, its just ones and zeros!”

    Apparently, Steve was seriously considering to give away the software for free, bundled with QuickTime or some such thing. People quickly made the point that you must attach value to perceive value in this new product.

    The rest, as they say, is Hollywood history. . .

  10. Video folks aren’t the only ones who’ve suffered at the hands of Avid. Us audio folks have had the rug ripped out from under us by Avid too. They and their subsidiary M-Audio have bought companies and stopped all further development on the Mac versions of those companies’ products. Wizooverb, Latigo, Darbuka, Key Rig, Bass Rig, are all Avid victims. Then, there’s the buggy, highly overpriced and way overrated ProTools. Thanks for nothing, Avid. Hope you lose all your customers to Apple and MOTU.

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