ChyronHego announced today three new corporate brands—Chyron, Hego and Tracab—which the company says it expects to cultivate greater product development, tech support and customer success in each respective market. The new brands will continue to operate under the current ChyronHego senior leadership team.
The announcement comes eight years after the iconic broadcast graphics company acquired Swedish-based Hego Group and changed its name to ChyronHego. A year later, it acquired a majority stake in XYZ Sport Tracking AS of Norway and integrated its technology into ChyronHego’s Tracab sports graphic platform. This has allowed the company to expand and strengthen its presence in sports and broadcast graphics.
After Ariel Garcia was named president of the company in 2019, he helped lead a review of ChyronHego’s brand, which resulted in this decision.
In today’s announcement, the company said that its Chyron division will continue to serve professional broadcasts across news, sports and beyond that require broadcast-graphics, data & content management, MOS-integration and control. Tracab will continue to help professional and collegiate athletic coaches and leagues with player tracking data, illustrated replay and virtual player lineups, while HEGO will concentrate on integrating broadcast services, including equipment and experienced personnel, to work with Chyron and other vendors' equipment.
TV Tech discussed the rebrand with Garcia prior to today’s announcement.
TV Tech: What impact did the original name change from Chyron to ChyronHego affect the company's business and market reach?
Ariel Garcia: I was not at the company at the time of the name change to ChyronHego, so I cannot provide you specifics on the impact. However, our customers and partners continue calling us Chyron, which tells you a lot about the recognition and respect for the brand.
When I took over as Chyron’s CEO in September 2019, my first action was to talk with our employees, customers and partners. It was clear that Chyron has a very special place in the heart of every person that loves live video production.
Our decision of bringing back the Chyron name is to pay homage to one of the most historied brands in the space. It is now a big responsibility for us to deliver product innovation and customer satisfaction to make those first live video pioneers proud.
TVT: How will R&D priorities be determined and priorities assigned given the rebranding and tri-focus?
AG: One of the biggest reasons to organize the company into three businesses and brands is to increase strategic focus and execution.
Chyron is now fully focused on live video production technology without the distractions that existed in the past. Tracab is focused on sports technology and analytics, and Hego in production services.
This single focus for each business enables us to innovate faster and provide our customers the level of service and support they need.
Since I became Chyron’s CEO, we grew our R&D team by more than 50% and today more than 60% of our employees are part of our R&D organization. As a computer engineer and electronic technician myself, my core focus is to evolve our products and bring innovation to support our customers and partners in the transition that the industry is going through.
TVT: Will there be changes in executive management?
AG: There will be no changes.
Over the last 18 months, we have built a phenomenal leadership team with executives that combine deep knowledge and experience in the industry and executives with strong expertise in cloud and modern technologies, customer excellence and operations in successful technology companies.
I am proud of the team that we have built and am excited about working with all of them in this next stage of the business.
TVT: What about the cloud and SaaS solutions? How are they reshaping—or will they reshape—the broadcast solutions offered and the live services required?
AG: Before it was in the modern executive’s vocabulary, Chyron was providing software as a service, or a variation of it, among several of our product lines. Axis, our cloud-based graphics fulfillment solution, and NewsTicker are two examples that come to mind. So we have a fair amount of experience from an infrastructure management perspective.
Our view is that the industry is going through a period of evolution and transition that requires cloud, on-prem and hybrid solutions. We have been re-architecting our solutions to be infrastructure agnostic. Our objective is for all of our solutions to run in the cloud, virtual, hybrid and dedicated on-prem environments or a combination thereof. There are use cases that favor on-prem and use cases that favor cloud. Our job is to empower our customers, wherever they are, to be their best.
All our solutions are designed or have been redesigned using a modern architecture, allowing this flexibility. We are conscious that our customers need to have flexible solutions and to not be constrained to a single environment or technology.
From a business model perspective, we offer all our solutions as subscription or upfront models. This is one of the changes that came from listening to our clients and understanding their needs. Again, giving flexibility and scalability to our customers is paramount for us.
TVT: How did the cancellation of sports early on impact the company?
AG: Hego, our production services business, experienced a shift of events from the second quarter to the last two quarters of 2020. The economic impact was not significant given that we were experiencing an upward trajectory of the business; however, the way that the business was conducted required a significant level of retooling and preparation. The good news is that our team proved to be extremely agile and adaptable, and able to deliver above expectations. The feedback has been incredible.
Interestingly, the absence of spectators resulted in an increased demand for our virtual graphics technologies and remote operations solutions, which boosted our results in the second half of the year. Fortunately, much of this technology already existed in our software stack making it easy for us to pivot and adapt to new workflows.
We knew from the beginning that we needed to be there and evolve with our customers. We worked with them to support them as they were adapting their operations by providing features and functionalities that would allow them to better operate remotely with their existing technologies, as well as increasing financial flexibility to alleviate the hardships many were experiencing.
TVT: With trade shows cancelled, how did the past year impact how Chyron connects with its customers and potential new ones?
AG: We thrive on being in close contact with our customers and potential prospects. With many of our customers, we host weekly or bi-weekly check-ins. I personally participate in many of those. It is very important to us to have an open dialogue with our customers to ensure that we continue evolving and innovating towards their desires and we timely address any need they may have. Many times these calls are quick, or the client will relay something amazing they did with our product. The important thing is that our clients know we are accessible.
Of course, we had to move all our check-ins to virtual meetings, but that was true for everyone. I think that in some ways, this pandemic made us closer. All Chyron employees and many of our customers now know my kids from getting interrupted from time-to-time during our virtual meetings.
TVT: You have recently announced a recapitalization by Apollo Investment Company. What does it mean for the company?
AG: Having a financial backer as Apollo, one of the largest financial firms in the world, ensures the necessary capital and resources to accelerate investments in product innovation and customer excellence, reaffirming our belief in our plan and ability to execute.
Apollo is a natural fit for Chyron given their growing media footprint. Our partnership with Apollo will be beneficial to our customers and the industry as a whole as it allows us to truly think long term and invest in innovation.
TVT: What kind of products will we expect to see in 2021, and are there any new target markets?
AG: We have a very full product pipeline for 2021. We have been expanding and evolving our PRIME platform into a full software-based live video production platform that can be deployed on-prem, virtual or cloud environments, enabled for SDI, IP, NDI, GPU and H264 workflows. You will shortly see our announcements on PRIME switcher and automation solutions as part of the platform. Our approach is to provide customers with a unified platform that is flexible and can scale up and down based on their needs. When you’ve built a technology stack that powers the industry’s most sophisticated real-time graphics engine along with the most scientifically accurate player tracking system, just about everything else we do is easier.
We have also made significant investments in Axis, our cloud-based graphic production and workflow platform, Newsticker 5, our branding and master control solution, and Chryon Weather, among others.
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