Quantel to sit out NAB 2009

In a continuing sign of the tough times being felt across the industry, image compositing and HD editing platform supplier Quantel will not be exhibiting at the NAB convention in Las Vegas in April. While the company won’t have an exhibit booth, several executives will be in attendance for client meetings and other activities.

Quantel CEO Ray Cross said “It’s not a decision that we’ve come to without a great deal of thought. However in the current general economic climate we quite simply can’t justify the [more than] $1 million investment that exhibiting at NAB would require. This year we’re being prudent; I’m sure our customers are too.”

He added that the company has hosted a series of road shows around the world in 2008 that, he said, customers appreciated for the convenience and individual attention that such events can offer.

The move is a reversal of the strategy taken at last year’s NAB, when Cross criticized Apple and Avid Technology for not attending the NAB 2008 convention. During his company’s press conference at the start of that show he said that exhibiting at the show gave the 100 Quantel employees in attendance “an invaluable way” to meet and greet customers across the 2000 meetings they had set up for the weeklong convention.

Without mentioning the companies by name he said what many other companies — large and small —echoed at the 2008 show, “If anyone tells you they can deliver this from a bus or road tour, they are barking mad.”

In a statement released last week Cross said, “These [non-NAB] initiatives will therefore continue to be at the forefront of our customer-facing activities over the coming months, in combination with the regular visits that our R&D, support, sales, marketing and management teams make to our users.”

Cross said Quantel engineers are busy working on new projects for major customers around the world at the moment and are progressing exciting new developments such as V4.1 and beyond, RED workflow, Stereo3D, Dino and FCP server integration to name just a few.

“Not going to NAB in this challenging year will allow R&D to focus fully on delivering for our customers,” he said. “This year delivery, not marketing, comes first.”

As several of the major broadcast networks have announced they are sending fewer employees to the show this year, overall attendance at the show is expected to be down.