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Media Composer licensing and upgrades: What you need to know—and do —before the year is out

Only published comments... Oct 29 2014, 01:00 AM by Kate Ketcham


You've probably heard a lot about Avid Everywhere, our vision for moving our company and industry forward. There have been a number of changes to our product lines and offerings over the last 12 months, with the promise of more to come.


My hope is that by the end of this post, you'll have the information you need to make the right choice for you and your business.


For Media Composer users, the introduction of new licensing models and policy changes provides interesting opportunities, although it could all seem a bit confusing at times. You may have asked yourself (more than once), "What does this all mean to me?", "When will this affect me?", and "How do I know I'm making the right decision?"  My hope is that by the end of this post, you'll have the information you need to make the right choice for you and your business.


"What Does This All Mean To Me?"


Let's start with the basics: All new copies of Media Composer | Software come with a year of support and upgrades, called Standard Avid Support. That means that not only do you get access to world-class customer support, you're entitled to receive every software upgrade that's released throughout the year. As the year anniversary approaches, you'll simply renew your annual Standard Avid Support to continue to get support and upgrades. If you don't renew and let your Avid Support expire, that's fine -your license will continue to run, but it will be frozen at the last version you upgraded to, and you won't be able to upgrade it further. We'll talk more about that later.


We've also introduced Subscription licensing; now you can pay a small amount each month (or pre-pay for the full year) to effectively "rent" Media Composer | Software. Support and upgrades are also included, so subscribers can always stay current with the latest release. Each model presents different advantages according to one's needs, but both are great options for new users.


Now you may be thinking, "Yes, those are great options for new users, but I already own Media Composer | Software. What choices do I have?"


The first thing you need to know is that we're no longer selling individual software upgrades. Gone are the days when you made a one-time purchase to upgrade your license to the latest version. Buyers used to have to navigate the different upgrade options based on what they were upgrading from and what they were upgrading to (one version back, two versions back, Interplay support, etc.) and mistaken purchases were common.  We've removed those pitfalls and have simplified the entire upgrade portfolio.


If you purchased Media Composer | Software any time before April 1, 2014, then you have what we call a "Node Locked Perpetual License." This is the licensing model you're probably most familiar with: you purchased a single license that runs on one machine at a time, you own the license, and it will run forever - i.e. in perpetuity. You've got either a Dongle or a Software License, and you can continue to use either for the foreseeable future.


If you want to upgrade your Media Composer | Software to the latest release, you have three options:


1.       Buy one year of Avid Support for your Perpetual License

2.       Convert your license to a Floating License and buy Avid Support for it

3.       Convert your license to a Subscription


So that's the short story. Now let's get into more detail.


"I Already Own Media Composer | Software"


If sticking with your perpetual license works for you, simply purchase Avid Support. It's good for one year and includes 24x7 customer support as well as every software update that's released during that year. It doesn't matter what version of Media Composer | Software you're currently running - Support is always the same price. You've also only got two options: 1. Standard Avid Support; or 2. Standard Avid Support + Elite Support, which just includes advanced support options (Extended Hardware, Code Blues, etc.)  Learn more about each option.


Support options are available via your Avid Sales rep, your reseller, or the Avid Store. When software updates are released, they'll be automatically deposited into your My Avid account, and you'll also get a notification that it's available from Application Manager (a new companion app that comes with Media Composer | Software and manages your licensing, installations, and upgrades, among other things). When your Support plan runs out, you can either renew it, purchase a different type of Support, or do nothing at all. If you do nothing, your license will continue to run (since it's Perpetual), but you won't receive upgrades or Customer Support anymore.


Having an Avid Support plan means you never have to worry about buying the right upgrade or guessing what your upgrade budget for the next year will be; you always have access to any and every upgrade for the same price each year.


"What if I'm already on Support? What do I do then?"


Simple: Nothing. You don't need to do anything at all. Your current active Support plan is still valid and we'll honor it until it runs out. When it does, you simply renew your Support as either Standard or Standard + Elite to continue to get the latest updates and customer support. That's it.


"I've Got a Lot of Media Composer Licenses"


"Seems too easy. What if I have a lot of Media Composer licenses? What then?"


The same basic rules apply: you need to buy Avid Support in order to receive software upgrades, and if you're already on Support, that contract is still good until it's time for renewal.


For customers with a lot of copies of Media Composer | Software (say, 20 or more), there's an additional option: Floating Licensing. A Floating License is a special type of Perpetual License; you own it, it runs forever, and it has to be covered by Support in order to upgrade it. The difference is that it's a concurrent use-based, multi-seat license, not a Node Locked (or single seat) license.


A Floating License is a "pool" of licenses activated on a centralized server - some server on your network that all of your Media Composer | Software clients can connect to. When Media Composer is launched on a client system, it talks to the Floating License server and uses an available license; when Media Composer is closed, the license goes back to the "pool" and becomes available for another client to use. If no licenses are available - if they're all in use - then Media Composer will not launch and you won't be able to run it until someone else quits his or her instance of Media Composer. You're never limited by the number of machines that can have Media Composer | Software installed, you're just limited by the number of machines that can run it at the same time.


If you own 20 or more copies of Media Composer | Software, converting them to a Floating License model may be an excellent option. You can save time when doing upgrades (no need to license each individual client), you can save money by buying and maintaining fewer licenses (only buy the number of licenses that will be used at one time, not a license per physical client machine), and you can save headaches with easier license administration (since you license the server, there's only one System ID to track and manage.) Floating Licensing is just one more way we're trying to simplify our licensing models while empowering our users to get the most out of their creative tools.


"What About Subscription?"


"I'm seeing a lot about Subscription licensing," you say. "How does that impact me?"


If you own a copy of Media Composer | Software, you can choose to buy Support for it and continue to own it, or you can convert it to a Subscription License. Converting to a Subscription means you get the exact same benefits that a new user who decides to subscribe, but at a lower per-month cost for the first year. This option is good for users who want to pay for their software over time at a much lower up-front cost.


"Yeah But - What's Up With This Deadline?"


Now I'm guessing you're thinking: "That's all great, but what about this end-of-2014 deadline I've heard about? How can you force me to upgrade my software before the end of the year?"


You're partly right. There is a deadline to get on a Support plan (or Subscription) by the end of 2014 - that's true. We're not, however, forcing you to upgrade your software.


Let me explain:


An Avid Standard Support plan is the lowest priced support and upgrade option for Media Composer | Software ever; previously, you would have spent the same amount or more for a single upgrade. Now you get an entire year of upgrades AND Customer Support. And you'll get your money's worth: by the end of October 2014, we'll have released three software updates, with a fourth planned for December, and we intend to continue releasing multiple updates throughout 2015 and beyond.


There's no question that Standard Avid Support is a great value. It's because of that value that we want as many of our current Media Composer | Software customers as possible to take advantage of this program and have their licenses under Support by the end of 2014. This doesn't mean you have to upgrade your software (or your license); you can continue to run whatever version of software you're currently on. We'd like you to upgrade to the latest release, of course, so you can benefit from the new features and fixes we've implemented, but it's not a requirement. You just need to ensure your licenses are part of an Avid program - whether it's Support or Subscription - by the end of the year.


Now if you choose not to purchase a Support or Subscription plan before the year is up, your perpetual license will continue to work indefinitely (perpetually). It will not, however, be upgradeable; it will be frozen at the last software version you upgraded to. If someday you decide you'd like to get the latest version of software, you'll need to buy a new Media Composer | Software license (perpetual, subscription or floating).


"Ouch. That seems harsh."


I completely understand why you might see this as severe. I hope you'll also see it as Avid rewarding customers that have been using Media Composer | Software for years by offering them a Support and Upgrade program at an amazing value. Either way, you've got some important decisions to make that can have a real - and potentially positive - financial impact.


"Let's Get Down to Brass Tacks"


Bottom line: You need to do what's right for you and your business to be successful. We think we have options that let you do that. You also need to make a decision and act on it before the end of 2014. If you don't, and you're not covered by a Support contract or on a Subscription, you won't be able to continue to upgrade your Media Composer | Software license.


Bottom line: You need to do what's right for you and your business to be successful. We think we have options that let you do that.


So evaluate your needs, talk to your Sales rep or reseller for more information, and make the choice that's best for you. You can also learn more and ask questions in our new licensing forum.


"Ok, I think I've got this."


Excellent. Now go forth, and tell your story.

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