Avid Dips Their Toes into the Subscription Waters
COW Library : Avid Media Composer : Walter Biscardi : Avid Dips Their Toes into the Subscription Waters
My favorite thing about NAB is connecting with folks who don't follow the same discipline I do. If all I did was hang around Adobe users, we'd all just share what we love about that singular suite and I wouldn't really learn much new. A chance breakfast meeting with someone I've never met before (thank you Twitter!) has made me go back and re-visit the slew of Avid press releases I've received over the past few days. Turns out I missed something potentially huge for our Post Production industry, especially the "little guys" and small shops like mine.
There it was: "Subscription Offerings" Two little words that I've been waiting to see for over a year from another major NLE. Adobe rocked the boat pretty good last year when they went 'all in' on the Creative Cloud to use all their latest software and for me and my company, it's worked out perfectly. Now Avid is dipping their toes into the subscription model and for editors everywhere, this is a GREAT development.
Now before you throw your pitchforks and get the torches lit (see Adobe Creative Cloud: The Debate Forum for reference) Avid has not thrown away the perpetual license. You actually have a choice of ownership or Subscription right now. This introduction is obviously a lesson well learned from Adobe's hard cut off of the perpetual license to the cloud. No matter how good Creative Cloud is (and it's awesome) taking away choice from the consumer abruptly created negativity that still permeates today.
Avid offering the subscription model plays well into the small shop / independent editor / independent post house extremely well and here's why. In order to truly serve the end client, you need to have access to and be proficient in all the major NLEs out there. In my mind today that's Adobe, Avid, Apple. Apple is easy at just $300 no biggie to have that in the toolbox, but when it comes to Avid / Adobe, generally you have to make choice as to which one you're going to commit to just from a purely financial standpoint. You had to pay for Avid outright whereas you could spread the money for the Cloud over time or even just pay when you needed it for the month.
Now as an editor, I can choose to have BOTH Avid and Adobe in my toolbox and pay for them as I need them. In fact, I can pay for a month or two of subscription to get up to speed and learn either tool so I'm ready when a gig is posted for either Avid or Adobe. This is HUGE for freelance / independent editors who work for a multitude of clients who work on multiple platforms. "Do you know Avid?""No, but I can learn it really quick" is NOT going to get you a gig. Having access to, learning it, and even refreshing yourself from time to time WILL get you gigs.
As an independent Post house, we can now offer Avid / Adobe / Apple for editing so we can service the client with whatever tool they want, but without the financial outlay of paying the high costs just to purchase software that "might be used" or "just to say we have it." When I purchased the Avid Symphony 6 licenses on sale a few years ago, they were $1000 each, so for my 5 workstations, that was $5000 I had to pay up front. Now I can simply either pay $49.99 / month yearly subscription or just $74.99 for a single month WHEN we actually need the software. That means MORE profit for me because I'm not paying for software that I MIGHT use. I'm paying for the software WHEN I actually use it. THIS is why the subscription model works so well for Post Production. Pay for what you actually use, when you use it, not for what you think you need to have.
Let's go back to that independent freelancers I mentioned a moment ago. Sign up for a month or two, learn the software. Every few months, no more than 6 months, subscribe again for a month, refresh yourself, learn the new features. That's far less than having to pay for software up front you're not sure you'll ever actually use. In the scenario above you'd pay $224 to access and refresh yourself on Avid for the three months. That should be less than you'd make for one day of editing on Avid for a client. Money well spent in my book. You also don't have to worry about upgrading that software every single year just to stay current. If this works like Creative Cloud, you'll get updates every time you log in.
Now let's take this further. What if EVERY piece of software that we use in Post Production was available by subscription. NOBODY would be limited in what they could use. Whatever tool would truly get the job done best for your particular project would be available to you. I would love to see this go across the board because honestly there are simply too many tools available to use today for anyone outside the large post houses and networks who can afford to "just have everything" in-house just in case they need it.
Too many people are seeing subscription as "taking away my rights to own software" and they're missing the bigger picture. Subscription gives access at a more reasonable price point. "But I won't be able to access my private files, the company has a hold on me!" That's what monthly subscriptions are for. Buy in, get what you need and get out. Paying $50 - $100/month for one month instead of $1000 for a year just to access old files is better in my book.
Think about having access to Filmlight Baselight, Autodesk Smoke, DaVinci Resolve (full version) even Plug-ins when you need them, without having to come up with the cash up front for ownership. Financial access to the best tool would not be a stopping point for any project, any production.
Now I know Avid is just getting started in this subscription idea but I was very surprised not to see a package that includes ProTools. It's very possible I missed it, but that seems to be a glaring omission for a subscription package as editing and sound design go so hand-in-hand today. I'd like to see that dropped into the package which would bring it more on par with Adobe's Creative Cloud having Audition in there. But hey, the mere fact that we can now subscribe to Media Composer is a welcome addition to the Subscription options.
Call me crazy, but I like where this subscription landscape is going. Avid and Adobe make two. Who's next?
Autodesk has also announced Subscription Plans for their software as well, however at the time of this article, pricing plans do not appear to be available on their website, however, a conversation with @autodesk Smoke on Twitter revealed that prices will be published in May.
Sub. $195/mo, $545/qtr & $1,750/yr (US prices...will vary worldwide).
You may download the Autodesk infographic here.