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Avid: “MENA one of the most exciting regions in the world”

4 March 2014
Avid: “MENA one of the most exciting regions in the world”

After a year of running Avid’s sales business in EMEA, Tom Cordiner (pictured) was asked to take on Avid’s Asia business as well and has been head of Avid’s international sales arm since. In this interview Cordiner discusses Avid’s new approach to the media industry and how growing markets like MENA fit into the new content landscape.

How do you see the growth in the MENA as compared to other international markets?

The Middle East is one of the most exciting regions in the world for media companies and anybody who works in partnership with them. We are involved in a number of countries across that region. We have a long history of working well with a lot of the big names, such as Qatar TV and Al Kass. There’s also a lot of investment being made in those economies, a lot of new media companies are being set up, and we’re very pleased that most of those conversations tend to involve using Avid technology. It’s a region we’re investing in, with more sales head count, more services, more delivery. I’m very excited about that.

In markets like the Middle East there is a huge amount of revenue and viewership associated with linear broadcasting. Looking ahead, there will be a great need for a strong IP and broadband infrastructure to drive these non-linear platforms.

And the rest of EMEA?

There are a lot more mature economies in Europe, the UK for example, that follow a very similar model to the US and there are lots of links to businesses across those regions, so they are quite advanced. In other parts of EMEA, like the CIS countries and Russia, new technology adoption will happen very quickly at a particular point, but it’s probably a more traditional investment model that’s favoured there at the moment. The great thing is we’re happy to work down both routes.

What do you think are the major issues facing the media industry now? And how has the increasing move to cloud and IP production affected Avid?

Media professionals are facing unprecedented challenges, including: the accelerated digitisation of media assets, the ‘consumerisation’ of content and distribution, and the relentless pressure for operational efficiency to structure their operations to take advantage of a ‘content anywhere, any time and on any device’ world. What a lot of companies are looking for is essentially one interconnected process. As an example: broadcasters and content owners want to syndicate content on multiple platforms, as well as create promos and advertising material for that new platform, and at the same time broadcast on linear TV, and make it all one seamless process. If you can put all of those toolsets and all those production distribution capabilities onto one platform – as we are going to be doing and are doing – it really starts to enhance how organisations reach their chosen audiences.

Our new direction takes us beyond the creative part of the business and links together the creative side with the business or monetisation part. One of the things we are seeing is that it’s a key priority for media companies to link these two parts together. Often the business end is starting to drive changes in how the creative process actually works. What we are building with our Avid Everywhere platform is a way to allow these two parts to come together and work in unison.

This month will be Avid Connect, the inaugural event of the Avid Customer Association. What has the response been to the ACA?

It’s been really positive. In certain markets it’s become almost overwhelming in terms of people wanting to get involved. We have an executive board that governs all of the various councils, with specific councils set up around strategy, around products, around service and delivery, around industry issues and obviously our partner and reseller networks too. We recently announced some key leadership: David Mash, senior VP for innovation, strategy and technology at Berklee College of Music, is in charge of the whole board of directors and executive chairmen. Richard Friedel, EVP at Fox Networks, and Dr. Andreas Bereczky of ZDF in Germany are the two vice chairs.

It seems like a real transformation of Avid, like you’re really approaching the industry in a completely new way and moving to become a service provider.

It feels very different, but really it’s an evolution of how the market is developing. We’re taking a leadership role within that to help our customers and partners make these transitions and deal with all of the change that’s going on inside the industry. I think the scope of markets that we serve have very different needs, so some markets are very ready for a much more service-oriented offering and a model that’s much more cloud or platform-based. Other markets will take a more cautious approach to adopting that. They’re a little more traditional in how they want to invest in technology. They prefer to own their own infrastructure and buy in a more traditional way. But we’re very happy to continue to drive growth in those markets too. There’s a lot of flexibility built in to how we’re going to work with our customers and partners.

We view ourselves as being an open platform and an open partner to our customers and our resellers. We’re very excited about our new vision, and we’re looking forward to helping the industry move at the right pace in the right direction.

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