The real NLE innovator

Since Monday’s announcement of David Krall’s departure from Avid, a lot of advice from editors has been flung at Tewksbury. Most suggests Avid go head-to-head with Apple’s Final Cut Pro. That won’t happen because it can’t happen.

Avid cannot compete on price with Apple in the software-only NLE space. Avid’s cost structure is too high. Lowering the cost structure would fundamentally change the company. A great book on this is “Dealing with Darwin.” It explains the ways companies can and can’t evolve to meet challenges.

Avid’s built as an innovator. Apple’s ProApps division is a follower. It blasphemous in many circles to fail to cite Apple as an innovator, but in the NLE space it’s a follower.

Avid’s issue is that it appears to have dropped the ball on innovation, so it has less reason to justify a higher price to a niche market than it did a few years ago. Features like ScriptSync are true innovations, but too few Avid users are aware of or understand it well enough to justify the expense. The traditional NLE market is mature. The innovation curve is flattening, but look no further than Adobe to see that there is room for fresh thinking in the video post production space — and articulating that fresh thinking. Look at how Encore can now author a Flash video site. Look at Apollo, Flex, and the forthcoming Adobe Media Player. Avid has decided not to play in that space. Time will tell if that was a fatal decision.

Based on the fact that to this day Avid has a crappy title creation tool, it still doesn’t offer multiple transfer modes, etc. The market is reacting quite rationally to Avid’s stagnation.

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