Ross Video has spent years trying to break into the lucrative live production market with its technology, with limited success. Now, in a case of, if-you-can't-beat-’em-join-‘em, Ross Video, a company that has supplied its video production switchers and other production gear to mobile production companies across North America, has acquired the assets of a full service mobile sports production company based in Plantation, FL, called Mobile Content Providers (MCP). No financial details were provided.
Joe Zaller, of market research firm Devoncroft Partners, posted a blog item on the purchase, in which he stated, “It seems to me that this deal is about more than Ross buying a production company. If Ross is right, the MCP acquisition could give them access to new markets while disrupting the established model.”
That “established model” translates to the use of 53ft production trucks and large crews that can be prohibitively expensive for smaller organizations like colleges and government agencies looking to produce multicamera video shows.
David Ross, CEO, Ross Video, said the company plans to operate MCP as a separate division of Ross Video. Heretofore, MCP has targeted smaller productions with a fleet of small-format vehicles that take advantage of Ross Video’s Carbonite production switchers and XPression real-time motion graphics system.
Ross MCP plans to offer clients new technology normally only available in large-budget productions, including what it calls “remote social media content moderation tools.”
In making the acquisition, David Ross agrees that there he saw a need for a national, high-quality mobile content provider that can produce television and online content affordably. Ross also sees an opportunity to offer an alternative to contemporary truck design and to test out new technology in the field. A number of Ross Video products, such as the Ross Carbonite, XPression and Dashboard — which are designed to work together — will be incorporated into the Ross MCP vehicles. The technologies will be made available to other truck companies as well.
Being careful not to alienate its mobile production clients, Ross said its MCP division would be a friendly competitor alongside existing mobile operators. In addition, many of the integrated systems that Ross Video refines for Ross MCP will be available with special package pricing and support arrangements for other third-party mobile operators.
One goal of the new Ross MCP venture is to train a new generation of freelancers on Ross Video live production equipment to help it overcome the hurdle of a lack of a freelance operator base it found hard to overcome when bidding against production equipment suppliers that are more established with the traditional mobile production truck suppliers. To this end, Ross said it would fund freelance training initiatives to promote this next generation of Ross workflow tools to a wider user base.
Mitch Rubenstein, founder of MCP (who will now serve as president of the Ross MCP division), said there is growing demand in the market for high-quality, network-level productions that are at a much lower price point than currently available. He said he’s now happy to have the technical and financial resources of Ross behind him to help MCP grow.
MCP rolled out its newest truck, the MB2500, in September. It was built by systems integrator Mobile Studios (Boca Raton, FL) and includes a Ross Carbonite production switcher and Xpression graphics system.