DS: What have been the big developments from Grass Valley in the past 12 months?
Said Bacho: A lot has been going on from our side. We have announced the expansion of our office in Shatha Tower, Dubai Media City and the reason for the expansion is that we have grown the team over the last year and we also wanted to merge the teams of former Miranda and former Grass Valley. We thought the best way to do this was to take the existing office in Shatha tower and expand it so the total space will be 1.5 times bigger than it is now.
We will have a total of 15 staff in that office supporting the Middle East region. There were 10 and we added five over the course of last year, not just through the merger [with Miranda] but also through expansion. So we are still very bullish about growth in the region, we have had a really good two years.
What level of growth have you experienced?
We have grown the business in 2013 versus 2012, and in 2014 versus 2013, so the overall comparative growth has been absolutely phenomenal for us. It has been around 45% over two years.
Will you be hiring more people this year?
We are looking into this at the moment to weigh what the need is versus what we already have. We will evaluate this in parallel with the cross-training of our own employees across the product lines, because following the merger we have new product lines and we need everyone to be trained across these. This is a process that is underway. In view of this, we want to grow again this year versus last year, and we will do what it takes to make this happen.
Where is most of the growth coming from? What type of projects have kept you busy?
In general it is coming from the Gulf, so it is countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Egypt. If we categorise the projects into two categories, we have live production and playout. We’ve seen growth in both areas. On the live production side I mean the studio projects and OB truck projects which have been very important for us. We perform very well in that segment of the market. On the playout side I mean traditional playout and playout applications. It’s been growing in parallel between live production and playout I would say. That fits our strategy as a company because we are investing a lot in both areas.
Are you seeing a lot of OB van projects?
In general the live sports and live production OB van business is booming for us. In the sports market we are extremely well positioned because we have all the products you would need for a compelling live coverage of any sports events: From the cameras, we have the super slo-mo or extreme speed cameras, replay and slo-mo replay solutions. We have the video production switcher sand all the infrastructure products from routing to multi-viewing, to the playout servers, so we have the whole range of products.
Are broadcasters doing more local coverage?
What is happening is broadcasters need new content and differentiation in content, because technology is only there to help produce or distribute. Unless you have content at the end there will be no differentiation except from a technology perspective, which is fine but that is not the only differentiation you will need to have be successful media presence.