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Only answer is to innovate

Broadcast vendors NewTek and Vitec say they are radically rethinking a market that has seen the price of kit fall and the number of units go up. During a lunchtime session on commoditisation, the aptly titled ‘Who is Eating Your Lunch?’, NewTek president Dr Andrew Cross said the manufacturer was currently looking at ways “to drive down product cost and increase volume and maximise profit.”

Tripod and camera accessory outfit Vitec is also rethinking the market and its CEO Matt Danilowicz acknowledged that there was a huge disparity between the price of cameras and the price of tripods and lenses — which have largely remained the same.

“Content creators no longer have a professional purchasing agent for 100 tripods. They are looking for better value, a different proposition.

He added: “We are trying to embrace this new generation of content creators so that our lunch doesn’t get eaten. We realised that if you are not offering exciting new products you would get swallowed up quickly. A great historical brand will not carry you through.”

Danilowicz added that in the past they had tried to safeguard their products through IPR but that “it’s a really tough, lengthy process and things are moving too fast.” The only answer, he added, “is to innovate fast.”

Nino Leitner, an independent content producer, added that there were future opportunities for vendors who wanted to capitalise on the ubiquity of the DSLR. “Picture quality has not yet been matched by audio quality – especially in feature films. If a manufacturer can find a way to capture professional audio without having someone run around with a sound boom they will be winners.”

Leitner added that commoditisation has enabled producers to tell stories they wouldn’t have been able to achieve in the past. “It allowed me to blend in with the crowd while filming a Syrian refuge in Hungary last week. I could see history rolling in front of my eyes without having to worry about tape stock.”