An influx of second-hand high-end editing and FX equipment swilling around the UK facilities market as a result of company closures is failing to attract buyers because of manufacturers' red tape, writes Sam Espensen.
Former Glassworks owner Das Werk and facility house The Mill are both offering advanced systems, as are various resellers, but The Mill head of IT Ray Tosh admitted it's proving hard to find buyers for Flames and Infernos.
The going rate for a Flame is around£260,000 new,£90,000 second-hand, while Inferno goes for£200,000 second-hand and£480,000 new.
One of the main reasons potential customers give for being wary of buying second-hand is the hidden costs but, according to Tosh, if hardware/software companies see second-hand sales as a threat to business and decide to be ?obstructive' it can put off potential buyers. He also said ?selling a Digi-Beta was a lot easier'.
A rise in second-hand kit sales has the potential to open up the market to allow new sectors of the broadcast industry access to high-end kit that they previously could not afford. Discreet reseller Red Lorry Yellow Lorry's managing director, Guy Walsingham, felt that although there are licence and software issues, ?there's whole new markets like the corporate sector which are beginning to use Flame. And for us - anyone buying systems will need training, and they will all need support.'
Glassworks MD Hector Macleod also saw a place for second-hand kit. ?The whole question of the value of upgrades to software is questionable anyway,' he said. ?All we want to do is be able to complete jobs. Discreet has wonderful products but it has to realise that if it doesn't go with renting then people are going to look for alternatives to buying anyway and risk being taken to court.'
Upgrades to software, licence fee transfer and the costs of technical support all add to the cost of purchasing an advanced system from another customer, even if the actual kit itself is going for a song. Discreet, for example, charges a licence fee to new users of second-hand kit. Managing director Patrick Jocelyn, defending this, vehemently told Broadcast: ?The reason we have a non-original owners fee is that it allows us to limit problems, and it helps to keep rates good - some leasing companies have sold equipment in the past for literally pennies and that's bad for the market.'
Quantel marketing director Nigel Turner, on the same subject, believed that a move towards a ?multi-resolution world means that ?it's a waste of time trying to do something with old equipment'.