Too many broadcast technology vendors are offering little more than a token presence in the Middle East, according to Abdul Hadi al Sheikh, managing director and CEO of broadcast and production service provider, LIVE.
Citing the proliferation of free to air channels in the region and the emergence of media zones, al Sheikh believes there are sufficient business opportunities to merit investment in permanent corporate facilities in the Middle East.
“It’s not a matter of them just delivering some boxes and then leaving,” said al Sheikh. “There are so many things that could go wrong you have to ensure that you have the right partner, one that will work with you to ensure it is a sustainable project, using the right system, that continues to work efficiently after installation,” he added.
The issue of continued technical support is of the utmost importance to LIVE with al Sheikh acknowledging that it plays a major role in the company’s selection process when choosing a vendor.
“It’s not just a matter of them having someone available in a call centre, it has to be physically located here in the region and that is something we look at very carefully. Unfortunately this market has not quite matured yet and people rely on the agency model. The reality is that they are often a barrier between the customer and us,” claimed al Sheikh.
“We always try to deal directly with the vendor. We don’t want messengers, we want real agencies that understand the business and can support us and understand our requirements.”