IBC2015 Q&A: David Schleifer on his new job at Primestream
There is a new key figure on Primestream’s executive team: Avid veteran David Schleifer was announced this week as the company’s new COO. The former head of Avid’s broadcast business unit and 25-year industry vet, Schleifer will oversee all worldwide sales, marketing, engineering, and operations.
In addition to the appointment, Primestream has unveiled version 5.5 of its FORK asset-management and automation platform, offering updates and support for 4K ingest and playout. In addition, the latest version (v4.5) of Primestream’s Xchange Suite provides instant Web access to content on FORK production servers from any computer or tablet. Xchange 4.5 also now features a built-in panel for Adobe Premiere Pro: through an intuitive new interface, users can search the Xchange media-asset database from within Premiere Pro, select media, and import the items into a Premiere Pro project. When an edited sequence is complete, users can export the project into a finished file ready for distribution.
SVG sat down with Schleifer at the show to get an overview of the latest FORK and Xchange features and discuss his view of the company’s future, specifically within the sports-production sector.
How do you believe your leadership will benefit Primestream, and how do you view the company’s current place in the market?
I think Primestream as a company is poised for growth. There is a lot of opportunity in the market, and the products are in a good place. There is not a need to change out the infrastructure here: the technology is there, the people are there, and the customers are there, including the NBA or NASCAR. They are really engaged with the products and have developed some very sophisticated workflows.
Our focus is on dynamic media management so it’s not just asset management. A lot of vendors offer solely asset management, and going beyond asset management can be tricky for a lot of companies. You have some vendors that have just built a thin layer of file-based workflow, and they don’t really integrate with the rest of the infrastructure. We have these great FORK products that integrate well with the infrastructure and automation. Then, you add Xchange with this very modern HTML5 frontend to the file-based workflow, so we bridge the gap for those customers and provide the flexibility to allow them to focus on their creativity and business goals.
How do you view Primestream’s place in the sports-production market, and do you see it as a big growth sector for Primestream in the near future?
The sports market is a very interesting one. I think, for years, people serving broadcast market saw it as a cousin that could utilize the same tools, but it never quite fit. It’s like forcing someone to wear a shoe that doesn’t fit just because they can walk in it. But it’s still not their size. What you see with Primestream, largely as a result of [the company’s] having won sports clients and being very customer-responsive, are tools that perfectly fit sports applications: like our logging tool. The Logger is focused on helping the sports market deliver the type of metadata into the system that allows them to get more out of the content they bring in.
As a market opportunity, sports is huge. As you see erosion in cable, it is the last thing keeping people holding on. I think the value of sports is only going to increase over time.
What advantage do you believe Primestream has over competitors in the asset-management sector?
We are in a unique position. We have looked at the workflow and evolution of the market, and we are not unique in doing that, but I think we are unique in being manufacturer-agnostic end to end. There are a lot of players where, if you want to go into their walled garden, they can deliver you a nice solution. Frankly, I helped build some of those solutions [while at Avid]. At that time, it was necessary to do that because of the lack of standards and inability to rely on off-the-shelf solutions. There were people that wanted to [use off-the-shelf products], but, by doing it, they compromised. Today, we are offering a no-compromise way of doing things. We can be the manufacturer-agnostic core end-to-end-solution, and you can switch out the tools at the edges. If it’s Avid or [Apple] Final Cut or Adobe or if things evolve, you still have your core. And I think that’s unique in the market.
Speaking of Adobe, can you tell me a bit about the integration between Xchange and Adobe Premiere Pro?
Primestream is tightly integrated natively into the editor and basically gives a seamless view into the assets all the way from ingest out to multiformat publishing. For editors not to have to exit or go to another tool allows them to stay in that creative zone. If you are editing and you need an asset, you get the asset right there and stay focused on what you are trying to produce. I think that’s exactly what is delivered in the Adobe integration.