Understanding the new Licensing Options of Avid Media Composer Software

Videoguys by Gary Bettan

At NAB2014 Avid announced that editors would now have several choices on how they can purchase Media Composer. Avid has now released the latest version (MC8.0) in all the new licensing options. Videoguys has put together a detailed FAQ with explainer videos to help you better understand your options. This blog post is intended as an overview to quickly help you understand the differences.

The key differentiators between the various flavors of licensing is the included 3rd party and Avid software. All prices in this post are MSRP.

Let's start with existing Avid Editors.

If you already own a version of Media Composer or Symphony you will be able to upgrade for $299.

What you will purchase for $299 is NOT an upgrade, it is an annual support package that includes free upgrades, updates and patches for a year. There are two flavors of this annual support contract, one for Media Composer owners and one for Symphony owners. The annual support package does not include any 3rd party software, but you can keep using the 3rd party software you already own, although you may require an upgrade from the 3rd party software vendor.

Avid is giving existing MC & Symphony owners until Dec 31st, 2014 to purchase an annual support plan. If you do not purchase a support plan by then, you will not be able to upgrade your software without buying a new perpetual license. If at any time you decide to stop buying support, you will still own your perpetual license along with any and all upgrades you downloaded and installed while under your support contract.

You can use activation or your existing dongle when you upgrade under your annual support contract. Avid will allow you to run MC 6.5, 7 or 8 with an updated dongle. Activation will support MC 8 and the previous version MC7.

If you wish to upgrade from Media Composer to Symphony you can purchase the Symphony option for $749. The Symphony option now includes Boris Continuum Lite, not the full Continuum Complete.

Note: Avid ScriptSync and PhraseFind will initially will not be supported in the new MC8. Avid is still negotiating with the software vendors and hopefully something will be worked out in the near future. For now we still have both ScriptSync & PhraseFind available to purchase for use with your existing MC 7 or earlier software.

Avid Subscription vs Perpetual Licensing

New Avid editors have two choices on how they can purchase Media Composer. You can still own the software by purchasing it for $1,299. This higher price includes you first year annual support contract as well. So if you purchase today, you would be eligible for any and all upgrades released for the next 12 months. Unfortunately Avid has significantly reduced the 3rd party software now shipping with Media Composer. The perpetual license only includes NewBlue Titler Pro v1, along with trial versions to Sorenson Squeeze Lite and iZotope Insight. Avid FX, Avid DVD and the full version of Sorenson Squeeze Standard are no longer included.

You can purchase the Avid Production Pack for $599 which gives you New Blue Titler v2, Sorenson Squeeze Standard and iZotope Insight. Not a bad value, but still no Avid FX. If you want that you'll have to purchase it as Boris Red directly from Boris FX.

The new $599 Avid Subscription plan is a fantastic value.

For $599 per year you can subscibe to Avid Media Composer, and you also get the Symphony option! That's right, for less then $50 per month your Media Composer subscription includes the Avid Symphony option plus a much better suite of 3rd party software. You get New Blue Titler v2, Sorenson Squeeze Lite, Boris Continuum Lite and a 30 day trail to iZotope Insight. You also get a year of Avid support which entitles you to all upgrades and updates. Avid also offers a more expensive monthly subscription for $74.99 per month, which is only available directly from Avid.

Note: You can't subscribe to an older version of Media Composer, all subscriptions are Media Composer 8. Updates are not automatic, you decide which future updates/upgrades you wish to download and when to install them.

Student and academic Options

Students can subscribe to Media Composer for just $119 per year.

Academic Institutions can subscribe for $479 per year. If you already own an Avid Student version and you are beyond your 4 years of free upgrades you can purchase an annual student support package for just $99. Students and educational facilities can still purchase Media Composer for $295 which now includes just the first year's annual support contract - you will have to purchase a student support contract for any upgrades beyond the first year. Avid also has some fantastic floating license deals for Academic Institutions that makes deploying Avid easier and more cost effective than ever.

Floating Licenses

Avid has also introduced a new option for facilities called floating licenses. You can purchase these as a pack of 20 or 50 licenses. Each pack also includes floating license server software which allows you to manage and deploy your seats as you wish. With a floating license server you can install Avid on as many machines as you like throughout your organization. The server then controls how many people can be using the software concurrently. With a 20 seat floating license you can have up to 20 users at a time. If you need to have more than 20 you would need to purchase another 20 pack or upgrade to a 50 pack. 20 & 50 packs are all that Avid initially will offer, but they may offer smaller add-on packs in the future.

Note: Floating Licenses are for MC8 only. Just as with subscriptions, you can't have a floating license for previous versions.

We have special pricing for converting your current facility to floating licensing and for academic institutions. For more information on Floating licenses and pricing please give us a call and a member of our Avid expert sales team will help advise you on the right configuration to fit your needs.

As I mentioned earlier, please check out the Videoguys' Guide to Avid Media Composer | Software and watch our YouTube videos for more in depth information about all of the new ways to purchase Avid Media Composer 8!

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