The Avid Marketplace

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When Avid Media Composer v6 shipped in Q2 of 2012, one of the new features of the product was the launch of the Avid Marketplace. This was achieved by integrating a web browser as part of the Media Composer toolset. I think having a web browser directly available within the editing application can provide some pretty innovative and a useful platform as part of the creative editorial process.

One of the much-touted cornerstones of the marketplace was stock footage purchase and management. The ability for the editor to search a stock library to find footage as needed, and using AMA and some clever engineering, download the proxy, edit, and conform back to the high resolution version once the purchase transaction has been completed. This is still limited to a single vendor, but one can only think this will expand in the future. The subject of stock footage management within Avid Media Composer will make for a good future blog.

Other resources offered within the Avid Marketplace browser are Avid’s own software options as well as plug-ins from other vendors. While somewhat convenient to browse such offerings within the Media Composer, it offers no added value than just using your preferred browser on the system. In many cases, clicking the link for more information actually does launch your default browser and goes to that page; defeating the purpose of the integrated marketplace and becoming just a fancy bookmark page with links.

In most, if not all cases, I can do a quick search for the plug-in on a shopping comparison site and find multiple vendors selling the same plug-in for less money. An example of this was for Magic Bullet Looks 2, where the first hit found it for US$50 less than the Avid Marketplace. And I don’t really know how that works in non-US countries with issues of VAT and other. Perhaps readers can comment on that experience that live outside the US.

This now brings us to value. Why would I buy this plug-in from the Avid Marketplace? In most cases, in this economy, the lowest cost will win out. But… if the Avid Marketplace provided “value” other than monetary, I am interested. Additional value comes in the form of automated installation, exclusive videos of how the plug-in works with Media Composer, direct support, automated update notification, etc. This would all fall into the “marketing” category with some aspects of support and education. Unfortunately what I read now in the product description is either a word for word or very close marketing copy from the vendor’s own website, leaving it generic and not tailored to the Media Composer user. Offering this added value in the Avid Marketplace creates a unique tailored experience that starts before, and continues during and after the transaction process. This, I believe, is what will gain traction and more customer loyalty to the Avid Marketplace over other vendors.

The other unfortunate limitation of the integrated browser is the inability to use it like a browser. It is restricted to the 5-6 predefined locations. How useful would it be to have full browser capability as a “Media Composer Bin”? Imagine opening up PDF files containing producer or director comments, using the browser window as a better version of the ScriptSync window where more than just “flattened text files” can be viewed. Or the ability to access online database sites to get an overview of the production process? Drag and drop any object from a web page into a bin or timeline? How about streaming the timeline into a preview page of in context of the overall marketing campaign before it goes live? Even subscription-based, tailored one-on-one user support forum that would differentiate from the user forums currently available. What can be done with an integrated browser could be huge in today’s world of integrated media, mobile devices and distribution. Maybe Avid is considering this, but feature follow-up has never been one of Avid’s strong points. Maybe the thinking is that giving it too much browser functionality would allow users to search for lower cost plug-ins creating direct competition with itself.

And that is missing the forest for the trees.

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