IROQUOIS, ONTARIO, CANADA — Ross Video has acquired Mobile Content Providers, a mobile sports production packager based in Plantation, Fla., for an undisclosed sum. Ross plans to transform MCP into a national mobile production company—Ross MCP. David Ross, CEO of Ross Video, said his company got behind MCP because of a gap in the market for mid-market sports and live event production.
“We saw stagnation wherever more bits of glue were being added to make products—made by various vendors—work together in even minimal ways,” he said.
“We saw a chicken-and-egg problem where truck vendors weren’t willing to try new vendors and technologies without having freelancers buy in. We saw freelancers disinterested in learning new technologies from new vendors because these solutions were not widely available in trucks.
“We saw broadcasters looking for more cost-effective solutions for increasingly fragmenting audiences but getting nowhere with the trucks and the freelancers. We saw Ross having the technology and the financial resources to make a change for the good of the industry. So we just did it. We realized that the only way to change things was to dive right in and become part of the industry,” Ross said.
MCP was founded on Jan. 1, 2012, by Mitch Rubenstein and Ray Colaiacovo and counts ESPN and Fox Sports Net among its customers. It uses primarily Sprinters and flypacks for remote production, and relies on Ross Carbonite switchers and XPression real-time motion graphics. (See “At Home on the Road,” TV Technology, Dec. 17, 2012.)
Rubenstein will stay on as president of Ross MCP.
“There is big demand in the market for high quality, network-level productions that are at a much lower price point than currently available,” he said. “National sports networks don’t want to compromise on the look and feel of their productions of college and professional sports. We have been successful in providing full-featured productions with network-level graphics.”
In addition to providing crew and equipment, MCP also takes on producer responsibilities providing a full-service offering, known in the industry as “packaging.” Ross MCP plans to offer clients new technology normally only available in the larger budget productions, such as Remote Social Media Content Moderation tools.
David Ross said the acquisition does not signal the company’s diversification in preparation for the “softwarization” of switchers. Software switchers, he said, were a “long way from being able to do the sort of network production quality levels we’re talking about here.” The company instead sees “an opportunity to offer an alternative to contemporary truck design.”
“We’re taking advantage of the Ross ecosystem of products such as switchers, character generators, routers, servers, modular products, and our free Dashboard control system,” Ross said. “Pulling all this together enables a hugely efficient production that even includes Dashboard ‘apps’ that help with scoring and live production, again, unique to Ross. We had all this technology and it was just taking too long to roll it out to the industry by conventional means.
“We also hope to benefit both small and major truck companies that choose to partner with Ross to exploit all of this new technology that we’re creating. We will make our designs, equipment, methods, apps, and much more, fully available to the industry.”
The company said Ross MCP will be a “friendly competitor” with existing mobile operators and packagers, offer special package pricing and support arrangements for fellow mobile operators, and fund freelance training initiatives on Ross workflow tools.
“We have a massive R&D budget at Ross and what we’ve created and are continuing to create is going to astound people who haven’t been paying attention to what we’re up to," Ross said. “We feel it’s time to shake things up for the benefit of the mobile industry.”
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