Jeromy Young has returned to the company he co-founded, with Blackmagic co-founder Peter Barber

Atomos New Ninja Series

Atomos has new leadership for 2024, with co-founder Jeromy Young returning to lead the company alongside new COO and fellow board member Peter Barber, formerly of Blackmagic.

Jeromy Young Atomos

Broadcast Tech spoke to the pair ahead of what they hope will be a busy year for Atomos, and Young didn’t hold back on what he wants to do with the company he co-founded in 2008: “Businesses are really interesting – it’s really hard to make one and also really hard to kill it. They tried really hard! Just by not focusing on the core reason why the customer bought it in the first place. New people coming to the industry don’t know what a ninja is, so they wouldn’t get the new customers.

“That’s a huge focus to begin with, going back to why it exists in the first place.”

This has involved some immediate moves, with six months free access being given to customers so they can try it and see the benefits - “The team really focused on connecting a ninja and a shogun to the internet, but then didn’t explain how to use it.”

Barber agreed, believing the prior leadership, “didn’t really understand the reasons behind the product. Why do the customers like it and use it? They were talking about shiny things, like the cloud, and the customer just wants to record really high quality video out of their camera and get it to the workflow that they use.

“If you explain how the cloud does that in a more efficient way, then they would have understood – and that’s our job.”

He added, “It shows how strong the brand was, and the products, that even without direction for the last few years they’re still being supported.”

Peter Barber Atomos

Barber was a co-founder of BlackMagic, and spent over 23 years with the company - working with Young while there. He played a major part in its acquisitions, such as DaVinci in 2009, and said, “To me Atomos is like another acquisition. Come in, fix it, and then let’s see what else we can bring in.”

The pair won’t be stopping there, with acquisitions possibly on the horizon. Young explained how the pair will work together, “I’m going to go out and be front facing, and Peter will make sure it’s humming underneath – with one eye on acquisitions.”

He hopes that they will give the company some stability after two CEOs in the three years since he left - one of which sued the company, which Atomos was “very confident” of defending against. Young said, “We are the board with the chairman – aim to bring stability. We’re happy to be scrutinised and report into shareholders.”

The CEO also wants the company to be, “A more mature version of what it was [when he was last CEO]. It was 30-year-old Jeromy and now it’s 45-year-old Jeromy.”

Barber is a big reason why he’s come back, “I kept coming up with ideas for the industry, and I had nowhere to put them. I thought about starting up on my own again, and then Pete said why would we do that? You’ve already built a company and it’s probably going to be available.”

In addition to a new strategy and potential acquisitions, new products are on the horizon - with some to be unveiled at NAB. Top of the list for Young and Barber is lighting - which is what the pair were working on before deciding to take on Atomos. Young explained, “We need to show our shareholders that the future is bright. There’s a lot of legs in the Ninja and Shogun market, but it’s not going to double and triple. We need another market, and this is five times the size.

“We’ll sit right in the middle [of the market] and price it accordingly. Every time someone buys a Ninja, they buy three lights, and I want a piece of that action.”

Ninjas and Shoguns will be able to control this lighting, and synchronise them for multicam productions - thanks to tech that Atomos acquired with Timecode Systems in 2019. Young added, “We’ve got a patented technology to reproduce the sun spectrum to 99.2%. Which no other lights do, so you have to correct it in post.

“The next generation is lighting that looks natural – but you need to control it, which is where the Ninja comes in. It’s a whole new way to approach lighting, and I’ve been working on it for about a year. It’s in production and we’ll be shipping it at NAB.”

They also want to improve Atomos’ screen and recording capabilities, and Young said there will be a, “Big focus on Adobe for us. They’ve got all the tools, and not a lot of ways to get it in there. We want the Ninja to be essential tool to connect to Adobe, and they’re really committed to it too.”

Elsewhere, the pair see an opportunity for Atomos’ products in the live production, particularly in the pro AV market. Broadcast Sport saw how the company’s Ninja Ultra is already being used by the LA Clippers for its near-live social content last year

Atomos LA Clippers basketball 1

Separately, there is also a plan for allowing users of all markets to sell their content through Atomos thanks to an AI-powered search system. Young said, “We see an opportunity to take the footage our users are making, and make it available to others through our community. For example, someone is doing a flyover of London Bridge, maybe someone can pay to also use that footage. We can automate that when the footage is being uploaded and shared. You can search for it and its’s there – as well as things like colour profile, camera lenses, etc.” 

It would be down to the user what they want to put on this marketplace, with the idea that it would be short clips for editing into other videos, rather than full productions.

With so many plans, 2024 looks set to be a busy year for Atomos - and Young is happy to be back at the helm: “When I put the shirt on I feel comfortable – my daughter saw it and said, ’that’s your company!’”