Avid: The Comeback Kid?

I like to think that the makers of Avid Media Composer breathed a huge sigh of relief  and poured a champagne toast when the negative reviews for Apple’s Final Cut Pro X started streaming in. This is their chance; the chance to make Avid a front runner in the video editing world once again. But will their strategy to capitalize on the disappointed professional editor work? And more importantly, should you jump on the Avid bandwagon?

But before we get too carried away, let’s back up for a second and really see how Avid’s situation came about. In the 1990s Avid was, without a doubt, the innovator of non-linear editing programs. Media Composer (their video editing system) was the leading product in the industry for almost 10 years. That is, until Final Cut came out and stole the show in the early 2000s. Instead of following Apple’s lead and adjust their product so it can be used by a professional and pro-sumer alike, Avid stuck with a strategy to keep Media Composer as a “professionals only” product. The cost for the program was so high that practically no one just looking to dabble in video editing would be able to afford it. As a result, the company has not produced a profit in five years

Given the company’s current financial situation, it is no surprise that they are going to desperate measures to gain some customers back. In April 2011 Avid starting offering a deal for Final Cut Pro users. If you commit to switching to Avid, you can get 60% off the price. That deal was scheduled to end in June, but they decided to keep it rolling now that Final Cut users are more vulnerable than ever with the release of Final Cut Pro X. (Adobe is also offering a similar deal with a 50% off discount for those who switch from Final Cut to Premiere Pro). 

Will it work? Well, that’s yet to be seen, but there is hope for Avid. It is a great program with a really good reputation. For someone who is just now starting with a higher-grade video editing program, this deal is certainly going to work in Avid’s favor. The problem is, people who work on Final Cut typically love it, so seasoned professionals are going to be reluctant to switch unless Apple announces it will no longer be upgrading the Final Cut Pro 7 system. As a result, Avid has been given a second shot, but it is too soon to tell how long it will last. 

Should you jump on the Avid bandwagon? In my opinion, yes, especially if you are a intermediate to advanced video editor. In all actuality, Avid is very similar to Final Cut Pro. The interface is not quite as flashy and you lose the nice workflow with the rest of the Final Cut Studio, but nonetheless it is a great program. Apple has shown us that they have very little interest in trying to please the professional video editing market. Final Cut Pro is such a small division of their profits that they will not feel any sort of financial loss from editors looking elsewhere. I think it would be smart to take advantage of these deals while they exist. You will be investing in good products and you know company is taking time and money to improve for the software for the professional user. 

It looks like Avid will stay alive for a little bit longer. Isn’t it ironic, though, that the marketing strategy that once almost destroyed them (the want to keep loyal to professionals only) is the one that will ultimately save them now 10 years later? Funny how that works. 

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