The US-based manufacturer, which last week announced losses of $31.9m for the fourth quarter, wants to limit it's indirect sales channels to companies that provide extra services and are both well informed and well trained. And that means that some smaller resellers will be dropped from the roster.
Avid's new vice president of sales Patrick Jocelyn told Broadcast: “When I look at how many resellers we have, [there are some] who probably signed up years ago because Avid was something to put on their price list.
“As we want to engage better with customers, having passionate resellers who understand the market is far better. If there are less of those then they will probably be more committed to making sure the customers are getting the information they need. [The reduction] will certainly be in double digit percentages.”
As part of the move, the company will also rip up current lists detailing which customers are sold to directly by Avid and which are sold to by resellers. New lists will be made public in order to make it easier for customers to know who to go to.
Jocelyn has yet to finalise these arrangements but he said that those with complex technology and services needs are likely to sold to directly.
Jocelyn went on elaborate on this and answers questions on a number of other topics:
Who will be sold to directly?
“Avid wants to look at routes to market from the full-on solutions down to consumer products. To go to market we want to decide who we work directly with and people that might just be buying point solutions who don't need a direct relationship. We will work in partnership with out resellers, making it clear and concise. If the reason the customers wants to buy direct is because they want to buy things cheaper that is not a good reason to be a direct customer. Direct accounts are going to be significantly technologically diverse or they have huge tickover of revenue. The general view is that resellers do a better engaging, local contact job. I know many customers who would rather deal with one of our highly trained resellers.”
In the past has Avid had an issue with the way it communicates with its customers?
“There is a grey area in the middle. The end solution hasn't been a problem. The problem has been the confusion over what part Avid commits to and what part we expect our value-channel resellers to commit to. If we can clear that up our customers will get a faster response and more clarity from what they're buying from Avid or from a partner.”
In these cost conscious times, is Avid looking at alternative ways of charging for its technology? Pay as you go, for example?
“There are a lot of very smart people looking at all sorts of different to-market options. The challenge with pay as you go is licensing. Especially when you have a hardware part. Licensing is definitely a barrier to making that work. I know we have, as a company, a history of innovation so we will be looking at revenue models, better billing models, ways to market. But I couldn't tell you if this was feasible next week or in ten years time.
On to technology, isn't it time that Avid made it simple and straight forward for other technology from other manufacturers to work with Avid's infrastructure products?
“Yes. In the three months I've been at Avid I've already been into ten facilities and at least seven broadcasters and without fail this is a question - as a legacy - that has not had clarity coming from the manufacturer. This is my statement: Avid is committed to being an open provider of infrastructure that allows companies that don't just want to have one manufacturer in their facility but need to connect to many to be able to use Avid as infrastructure. Isis is one of our most widely used products. When the new Avid board was installed last year they made the DNxHD available to third parties. As a company that I used to work for [Autodesk] were one of the companies that couldn't get access but got it last summer and were able to write routines and APIs into these codecs I will tell you from both sides of the fence that this is becoming a reality. Does Avid want to be a closed system? Absolutely not. You will see a lot of partners working on the Avid infrastructure.”
Does it concern you that more young people are coming into the industry with Final Cut Pro knowledge than have an Avid experience?
“It's something we think about all the time. By having a definite Education strategy we can help make sure that Avid becomes more of the curriculum than it is right now. Avid is more than an editor. Avid is about lots of things including infrastructure. It would be a failing of ours not to have people coming out of college with a knowledge of the number one install editor in the market place.
I have appointed an education strategy manager, a former teacher who understands the education market. His job will be around not just selling product into schools but about understanding how that gets tied into curriculum and how it gets tied into training of the next generation of users who will have to be far more savvy on not just a single point product. They will know how that figures in the wide world of multi-format, metadata management, media asset management, video over IP and everything that goes with it. We have to re-establish that education leadership. Apple has a huge install base. We have to differentiate between the numbers game and concentrate our education strategy on helping people to get jobs and to be useful when they get jobs.”
With your background, would it make sense for Avid to buy the systems division of Autodesk?
“I have no inside information so this is just me speaking this is not the board speaking it's just my opinion. I think there is a lot of logic in a high-end post-production business that both those business could gel together. There is also a lot of competition. DS is hugely competitive against Smoke. When you acquire companies you want to acquire relative and a company that fits. I'm not sure that there is a fit other than it's the same market place. It might be better for Avid to be clear on its overall strategy on what the customer wants. When a manufacturer buys its competition it limits a customer's choice. It can stifle innovation. We have to ask what would our customers think? That is our primary goal.”