Toward a Unified Product Line

In recent years, Avid has added many new companies to its roster, creating an overabundance of editing applications. What does the Avid brand represent? Professional post-production, hopefully. But in terms of a point of view about editing tools, I’m just not sure.

Depending on how you divide them up, the company offers half a dozen lines of picture editing software, including Media Composer, Newscutter, Xpress, DS, the Liquid line and Pinnacle Studio. And within families there are typically several variants that have to be supported and tested. The total number of discrete pieces of software is up around 15, depending on how you count. That makes no sense to any kind of buyer, and it’s draining resources from a company that can ill afford inefficiency.

Avid needs roughly four products: something for consumers, something for high school kids and wedding videographers, something for pros, and a full-bore finishing application.

More or less like this:

  • Pinnacle Studio (competing with iMovie)
  • Xpress Pro lite (competing with Final Cut Express)
  • Media Composer (with Newscutter and Liquid functionality rolled in)
  • Nitris or DS (a full-bore finishing application)

But I don’t mean to imply that these applications, in their current incarnations, fit together effectively. To varying degrees, they all need to be rewritten in order to provide a single, unified user experience and full media and project compatibility. Learning one would help you understand the others. If you start your project on one system, it should move with you up the price ladder.

With a lineup like that customers would have an easy time figuring out which application they need, and Avid would have a fighting chance of defining itself both internally and to the market. They’d stop wasting resources competing with themselves, and they’d be able to combine all the great engineering talent within the company and focus it. In short, they’d be able to lead.

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5 Comments on “Toward a Unified Product Line”

  1. editblog Says:

    amen. too confusing with too many products. I suggested something similar in a post over at Studio Daily a while back:

    http://www.studiodaily.com/blog/?p=208

    It seems like an easy thing to see that the product lines are too convoluted… but maybe not to those in power!

  2. jd Says:

    Amen again. Avid, in it’s acquisition of product lines such as Pinnacle and Soft Image, has done little to spread the innovations in these new products around to their other applications. As a result, not even the shareholders are benefitting.

    Your prescription for a consolidation of the product line based on 3-4 broad markets is exactly what needs to happen. What a shame that the combined resources of my DS, my Symphony and my XpressPro are still left wanting by some of the features in Final Cut Studio. Avid cannot hope to stay competitive while trying to update a line of 15 products that serve the needs of only 4 markets. I’m sure the Sales Dept. can sub-divide them into 15 markets, but out here there are only 4 (4-5?).

    What has to happen before Avid figures this out? And how can we help/expedite the process?

  3. Steve Says:

    Posting comments here can’t hurt. I know that many Avid-ites frequent these pages.


  4. Steve- Totally agree. I would add the finishing system to be a native data conform tool in addition. The media management initiatives like Interplay have to be compatible across the professional line and easily integrated into a workflow. I would also push for an integrated workflow with Quicktime native applications like FC Studio and Adobe CS3. I would move away from an xpresspro lite and instead have a MediaCompser compatible web app, allowing for basic cuts, edl and integration with the MediaComposer.
    Anyway, great job with the blog.

  5. pready Says:

    When comparing Apple to Avid, one easy defense for Avid is to remind everyone that their entire company is dedicated to the many different applications for editing (news, sports, features, broadcast) whereas Apple has a small amount of resources in comparison.

    I would imagine that the reason Avid has such a diverse product line is from a response to each vertical application of their product. Is this possibly an advantage for Avid to prove their dedication and understanding to a specific vertical?

    My undertanding is that Avid has synchronized their engineering efforts of late and that the software is very similar for each application and that it is the dongle that unlocks certain functionality currently all on X.7 releases (Symphony 1.7, Adrenaline 2.7, XPress Pro 5.7).

    I would call out for a better integration between the old Softimage group, Digidesign and Avid. To me, that is where the problems lie.


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