General Television

MBAs Gone Wild

My article on Avid vs FCP served as a springboard for Frank Capria of Kingpin Entertainment to talk about the evolution of the Non-linear marketplace in much broader terms. It's an excellent post and an excellent blog. He touches upon a pet peeve of mine, namely Avid's inability to streamline its product line. Frank speaks to Avid's dilemma quite nicely so I won't repeat it here, but I think Avid has something else going on...

MBA-itis.

In business literature the Rule of 3s pops up all over the place. Got a product? Offer three versions of it. Want to make a sale? Contact your prospect three times. Got a message? Tell them what you're about to tell them, then tell them, then finish by telling them what you've just said. Everything in 3s. Avid's product line is similarly positioned - only taken to an extreme.

Shared storage: 3 major versions

Nonlinear editing: 3 major versions

But at what point does it end? 5 versions of the Xpress product line. Another 3 versions of the Liquid line. And at the high-end more fragmentation, how do you choose a Symphony over DS? I imagine most purchasers finally give up, they look to see how much is in their wallet and find the product closest to that number. Customer confusion is never good. And Avid, in their attempt to gather every dollar by covering every niche is probably leaving money on the table. If you had fewer choices, might you find another $2,000 to step up to a more full-featured product rather than the one that leaves an extra $1,000 in your pocket? Maybe. If the choice is clear and the products are effectively delineated it's a no-brainer. As it is now, spend what you got because the product mix is much too complex to determine if you need to dig deeper. The result of too many MBAs with too much time? Perhaps.

In contrast to Avid, Apple seems to missing a product. They have Final Cut Express and Final Cut Studio. Where's the third product? Since Express and Studio are so closely priced, that third product is probably at the high-end, should it ever appear. Some recent Mac rumor sites have mentioned a 2K version of Final Cut in the $10,000 price range. Certainly, the niche that needs 2K functionality are used to spending big bucks - so the price tag won't pop any eyeballs. And if you look at Apple's hardware the Rule of 3 is very much alive, why not on the Final Cut side? Especially since it could sell oh-so-many Xsans and Xserves.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a "high-end" Final Cut package at NAB.

I would be surprised to see Avid streamline its product matrix.

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