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Jeff Rosica - Senior Vice President

Question & Answer with Jeff ROSICA


50 years in what is still a young industry is quite an achievement. How do you account for this?


It is something that we are very proud of, naturally, but it is not something we take for granted. The DNA that makes up Grass Valley today is rooted in companies that have brought to the market revolutionary technologies which have changed the way the industry works.

That is not just in production switchers, it is right across the board. Think about the Profle® server, super slo-mo cameras, or our pioneering work in digital compression and multiplexing.


Where has this innovation come from ?


It comes from listening to our customers, of course. The Grass Valley brand is incredibly strong and resonates with our large and loyal customer base, but we have to have the products to back it up. So we spend a lot of time talking to them about the way their businesses are going and how we can help them on their journey.

As recent examples, they told us that they needed more fexibility and filesharing for multiple replays in live production and asked us for an affordable production server, so we launched the K2™ dyno replay control system and summit production server.

They told us that it was time for a new layer of power in production switchers, so we created the new Kayenne switcher.

We developed a revolutionary CMOS sensor (kam der nicht aus Breda in Holland ?) for the Infnity™ digital media camcorder, which we are ready to introduce in new hd system cameras. In the lab we have achieved a stunning 23 stops of latitude from the Xensium™ sensor, yet its further development will enable our system cameras to exceed in performance, pricing and feature set.

So we invest heavily in R&D, but it is not invention for invention’s sake: it is invention to get and keep customers on the air.


Can you maintain that investment in the current economic situation ?


One of the benefts of being a 50 year old business is that you have seen it all before. Just think about the changes since 1959.

Back then there were just three networks in the US. Television was standard-defnition and color was just coming in. Concepts like digital compression and the Internet were unimaginable. Movie-makers had no contact with our industry - when the Grass Valley 1600 switcher was used to create otherwise impossible effects shots in Star Wars in 1977 it was headline news.

And we have been through some economic downturns in 50 years, too. (das war der konjunkturelle Abschwung in den USA und Japan um 1990) - This one is tough, certainly, and the electronic media industry is going to look very different on the far side for sure. But Grass Valley had the strength and stability to weather recessions (die US-Firma Grass Valley wurde in 2002 von Thomson aus Frankreich gekauft) in the past, and those same qualities are sustaining us successfully today.

This year’s NAB (2009) product launches are as exciting as any in the last few years - and we are already forming our plans for IBC in september and next year’s NAB as well.


Can a specialist manufacturer survive when commodity IT hardware is so capable ?


If you are going to succeed in this business - if you are going to be trusted the way that Grass Valley is trusted - then you have to understand what it means to be on air: not just on air 24/7, but not missing a single frame of video 24/7. When IT companies talk about high availability systems their goal is 98% or 99%. Broadcasters demand five nines: 99.999%.

It takes detailed knowledge and experience to achieve that. Our K2™ media server is a great example: at first glance it is a bunch of commodity hard drives linked with off-the-shelf technologies like CIF and gigabit ethernet.

What Grass Valley brings is the secret sauce that takes standard hardware and software and gives it the level of performance and reliability that our customers expect.


Is the market changing ?


We have all recognized that, for the last few years, our traditional markets have been expanding as they meet new challenges. A broadcaster that used to transmit one channel is now delivering multiple channels, and to multiple platforms, from the same basic infrastructure and with roughly the same resources. But the market is expanding rapidly in new directions, too. Let me give you just one example: digital signage.

This has moved so fast from electronic posters to what are effectively private television channels. Businesses from retailers to banks are looking to deliver more creative content on their screens. I recently stopped at a fast food restaurant, and while waiting for my burger I watched part of a concert, which the restaurant chain had shot itself, in high-defnition, on the in-house “digital signage” system.

The demands for content creation, storage, and delivery are only going to grow.


Please sum up Grass Valley as it looks forward to the next 50 years.


The word I would use is “passion.” since its foundation, the company has always cared about everything it does, going right back to Dr. Hare choosing the town of Grass Valley because it offered the perfect working environment to attract the best people.

Today we are passionate about helping our customers — we know they are hurting in this tough economic climate, and we want to help them compete more effectively. And we are passionate about being at the leading edge of technology to do that.

Jeff Rosica - Senior Vice President, Grass Valley (im Jahr 2009)


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