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Apple follows Avid's lead at NAB 2008?

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : Apple follows Avid's lead at NAB 2008?

So first we hear of Avid's pulling off the NAB 2008 Show Floor. During a lively debate in the Business and Marketing Forum, one Cow user noted that Apple had suddenly disappeared from the Show Floor Exhibit Map. I was looking over the Exhibitor List and Apple is not listed there either.

So by all outward appearances, Apple has pulled out of NAB 2008 as well. At least off the main Show Floor. Now Avid has been known to have had cash flow issues over the past few years as Apple's Final Cut Pro has made huge inroads in the Post Production community. So I attributed Avid's decision to leave the Show Floor as purely a financial move meant to better use what resources they have.

Now if Apple is truly pulling off the show floor, this is definitely different. Apple is certainly not hurting for money these days with the success of the iPod, iPhone and the resurgence of the Apple Computer products. Apple is one of the hottest nameplates in computers and electronics right now.

So does this tell us that NAB's significance for the Post Production market is slipping? Avid obviously feels it does not get a sufficient return on investment to be on the NAB show floor. Now it appears Apple is saying the same thing. As someone who has worked on the show floor in various vendor booths, I can assure you that putting a booth on the NAB Show Floor is not for the weak in the wallet. It's a very expensive proposition, not to mention hotel and travel fees for the support staff to run that booth. So if Apple truly does skip the show floor, we have to assume that Apple feels they get a much better return on investment by simply selling online and through their Mac centric trade shows like MacWorld and WWDC. And of course there is the large Reseller market and forums such as our own Creative COW Forum.

Of course, what does all of this mean for all the other exhibitors who put a lot of effort and time into this show. Apple and Avid drive a lot of traffic to the show floor and by doing so, they drive the traffic to all those other products we use in our day to day working lives and more we discover for the first time walking by their booth. If there's no Avid or Apple on the show floor, how many people will simply stay away from NAB, thus hurting all of these third party exhibitors. I know for me, it's not as desirable to go visit the show if I can can't get the latest information about Final Cut Studio and test out some of the new features.

On the flip side, if they are not there, that opens up Adobe, Autodesk, Media 100 and others to a lot more visitors they might not normally get. If you can't look at Final Cut Studio or Avid systems, why not look to see what everyone else has to offer? You might be pleasantly surprised by what else is out there.

So if Avid and Apple both say "No" to NAB 2008, who's next? I'm sure the rest of the industry will be watching the "A Team" closely as we approach the show.



Posted by: walter biscardi on Jan 10, 2008 at 2:14:03 pmComments (7) avid, apple, nab

Comments

I never doubted for a minute that they'd be there, Paul
by Ron Lindeboom

My point was not that Apple was pulling from the show. My opinion was that I believe that Apple used Avid's departure from the show to (shall we say?) "discuss" their present and on-going pricing structures with NAB management.

Money mouth

From what I can see as a marketer, forcing NAB to pull down Apple from the NAB site put the fear of God into them, and made them (shall we say?) a "more willow-like and much more malleable" NAB Team.

It's how I'd have played it.

I never for a moment thought that Apple was not going to be there. I merely thought that this to be one of the finest examples of "marketing opportunism" that I have ever witnessed in this industry over the last 20 years.

Those are my thoughts on it all...

Ron Lindeboom

Wink

Apple will be there
by Paul Escandon

Apple will be there in 2008. I have confirmation of this directly from someone inside Apple.

 

Correction: My original post listed the wrong person as my source of this information. 

 

* * *
Paul Escandon
Producer | Director | Editor
Apple Certified Trainer - Final Cut Pro
Oremus Productions
http://www.oremusproductions.com
- -
Adjunct Professor of Media
John Paul the Great Catholic University
I think Apple is just working NAB for a sweeter deal, I would.
by Ron Lindeboom

 

I think Apple's recent disappearance from the list of NAB exhibitors is little more than a marketing ploy and jockeying for position. I suspect that they are using Avid's disappearance -- and the threat of Apple pulling from the show -- to get a sweetheart deal on discounted booth space. It's what I'd do if I were in charge of Apple's event marketing department.

NAB was hit hard by the announcement of Avid's departure from the show floor. But the threat of a "double whammy" in one year is more than NAB could handle at this point -- especially as the South Hall is where the action is nowadays. There are times when I have been in the North Hall and could fire a cannon up many of the aisles there and not hit a soul.

NAB has changed a lot since I first staring going nearly two decades ago. Back then, the nonlinear/multimedia/software crowd were relegated to the Sands Convention Center hall and were the bastard step-child of the family. Today, the lion's share of the traffic is in the South Hall, upper and lower. Having the two anchor tenents of the South Hall Lower pull on the show is more than NAB could perceptually survive. Apple knows this and I suspect that they are -- shall we say? -- rediscussing Apple's financial arrangement with NAB.

It's a discussion that I'd be having and it's one that if it gets around, will likely help rearrange the pricing policies of a show that has become onerous over the years.

Feigning indecision is sure to become one of the hallmarks in the negotiation process of many manufacturers as they discuss NAB participation with NAB representatives over the next few years.

Undecided

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Nothing beats in person "feel and touch"
by walter biscardi

Ron, totally agree with the fact that NAB's importance is waning, particularly with sites like the COW where folks can give unbiased opinions about equipment and folks can judge for themselves.

But one of the things I always encourage is any potential user to get hands on experience with the gear before you purchase.  Even something as cheap as $1,300 Final Cut Studio and a $3,000 AJA Kona 3 board.    While the VAR net is strong across the country, even they can't always set up even an FCP BlackMagic vs. AJA Kona test for you.

NAB (and IBC) is at least a place where you can get a chance to touch and feel all the equipment in one central place.  That's really the biggest thing it has going for it, especially for the smaller third party companies that you might only discover by seeing them at a show like this.

If Apple really is pulling off the show floor, not sure if I'll be going this year quite honestly. 

I think it's clear that NAB's importance is waning...
by Ron Lindeboom

 

While I feel awkward debating my friend and esteemed colleague Walter Biscardi, I must say that I would doubt that too many people have formed their real knowledge of systems, etc., by what they see at NAB. They may become titillated by something they see but the in-depth research is rarely borne out on the floor of a major trade show. Usually, the digging is done here at the COW and across other resources across the Net, digging into things that both manufacturers and users say online. Then they are further clarified by things like in-depth podcasts, articles, reviews, commentaries and other bodies of work that go well beyond the purview of a quick presentation at NAB.

There are indeed knowledgeable guys and gals who are presenting in the booths and can answer questions face to face -- and I would never devalue such a thing. They are invaluable and to quote the Mastercard ads, they are priceless. But I have also talked with the kind of expert at NAB working a booth for whom I wouldn't give you a dime. They are not common but they are there. They are the guys who pretend that they know the product they are competing against but usually have nothing more than a cursory knowledge and very little real understanding. Their "comparisons" can be quite misleading and oftentimes deceptive -- sometimes intentionally.

I agree Walter that NAB is a great event and we will likely attend this year but won't be having a booth presence. It's just that we would argue that its importance is becoming increasingly less with each passing year due to resources and the people found on the web.

I would end by saying that I have learned far more from you, Walter, interacting over the years here at the COW than I have learned from you during a booth presentation -- not because your value is not there, it is just that it's rough to learn in such a compressed time and setting.

Best always,

Ron Lindeboom

It's a central gathering place
by walter biscardi

Road shows are nice, but even you said 36 stops.  How many thousands of towns out there are people using Avid, Final Cut Pro, Media 100, Autodesk and so on?   How many of those people want to compare what these various companies are offering and don't live anywhere's near those 36 stops?   How well can you compare Avid vs. anyone else if it's an Avid roadshow?

Avid says they are "listening to our customers."  So they are only listening to their current customers?  There's no need for new customers?

A potential customer can pay for one trip to Las Vegas and look at every single editing option under the sun and make an educated choice.  Sure there's the "din" of the show floor, but if you're a serious customer, that's what meeting rooms and hotel suites are for.  You make your one on one pitch off the floor.  I've experienced that first hand on numerous occassions even before anyone knew who I was.

Now Avid is saying it's better for that potential customer who wants to see the Avid product line to make a trip to a road show to only see Avid products?  Then I would have to pay for another trip to go see the Apple Road Show?   And of course I'll go to another town to see the Media 100 show and so on?  I really don't see the logic there.  Multiple trips with multiple costs rather than one flight, one hotel stay in one city.

The logic doesn't fly with me but then I'm not in marketing.  

Slight correction
by Tim Wilson

2 slight corrections

1) Avid's not having cash flow problems. Plenty of people -- including those inside Avid -- have identified other problems, but cash is flowing through. It's still a billion dollar company making more than it spends.

 I'd argue that they're not even having market share problems in any key markets. but that's a discussion that's more interesting for everybody else but me.

2) Avid has never suggested that there's no money for a booth. It's not unheard of that a company fibs about its motives, but the General Manager of Avid video -- the straightest shooter I've ever met (whom I never worked for, btw) -- told the Cow exclusively:

Meeting people directly, where they live and work, without distractions, is the right thing to do.

And in the forums, he agreed that Avid had a thrashing coming ("it's deserved"), and continued: 

Just let me say one thing - we do care about our user base and we are starting to listen ( I agree we didn't used to do either).

I find the concept of NAB arrogant - we plant a big flag in the middle of Vegas and say 'come to us' - the few thousand that do show up we then shout at for an hour in the din - what a great concept!

Avid goes further than anyone I've ever seen to make this a reality. A typical road show has included the video GM, directors of marketing and sales, all major product managers, support people, VPs of post and broadcasting, and on more stops than not, the CEO. These guys weren't on the stage, but in the crowd. They visited facilities, sometimes for days on either side of a road show stop.

These weren't cheap shows, btw: the exact same high-end gear and sound systems used on the stage show. First class food and drink too, not available at a tradeshow. :-)

I know they were the exact same stage presentations as the tradeshows, because I did them both. 

They were intended to make clear that Avid took every city on the tour with absolutely the same seriousness they took any trade show. Indeed, the trade show season dwarfed booth costs.

(I use the past tense because I don't know about anything that happened after I left.)

This will be the last thing I say: I was a Final Cut Pro expert, hired by Avid to kick Avid's ass every day, and I did. 

Until Avid shows itself to be a liar, they deserve to be taken at their word: the decision was strategic, not financial. It was about removing the arrogance and inefficiency of trade shows in favor of direct contact.

And while they won't be in a booth, they'll be at many other events (the last year I went, there were 36 of them), ready to take both barrels face to face, again, not even remotely possible on the show floor.

PS. Let me know when you meet the CEO, 3 VPs, and every major product manager for a billion dollar company at ANY tradeshow, much less EVERY stop on a road show.

Again, I'm no Avid apologist, and it pains me to say anything nice about them in public, since I never did when I was there :-) so I'll not be saying anything else on this. I welcome all other comers to have the last word.

 



Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.

 




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