Equipment Companies Form “BIG”
     

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Orban, SCMS, Jampro, DaySequerra, BW Broadcast and StreamGuys are banding together to save money in the short term and accomplish what may turn out to be a broadcast equipment industry first in the long term.

These six companies are taking the first steps towards eventually forming a new mutually-owned company called the Broadcast Industry Group, or “BIG.”

They say the purpose of BIG is to promote the consolidation of key manufacturers and service providers in the broadcast industry. All of the founding members are equal owners and will be on the board of directors of the new entity.

Their first priority is to consolidate sales, marketing and promotions. A larger, united presence will be on display at trade shows, SBE activities, local and state broadcast group meetings and other broadcast industry events.

Orban President/CEO Jay Brentlinger, who calls himself the organizer rather than the leader of the group, tells me they’ve been working on the concept for a year, carefully researching and identifying the right mix of companies. While they may overlap in some areas, their products are generally complementary. They’ve identified other companies to join them too, but are starting with these first six.

“Broadcasters are standing on the threshold of change both from new and emerging technologies, and in the way mobile media is viewed and delivered,” says Brentlinger. “The broadcast industry and media content providers must reshape our industry, while remaining profitable in the face of growing competition and meeting the demands of new media trends.”

SCMS President Bob Cauthen says broadcasting is a “very mature” industry, but still lucrative. In order for equipment manufacturers and service companies to continue to grow, they must be proactive. Consortiums, mergers and acquisitions will be more common in the next decade or so, he says, citing Nielsen’s acquisition of Arbitron as an example. “Being a part of a strong consortium of leading companies in our industry is a smart step in that direction. We intend to be a significant part of [BIG’s] sales and marketing efforts.”

Noting that his company is based in the U.K., BW Broadcast CEO Scott Incz hopes to use its position in Europe to further the group’s interests, both in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.

The concept is that by combining sales/marketing/promotion efforts, the companies will benefit from those sales, as well as saving on the money it takes to get those orders. For example, Orban would have the marketing literature of all six companies in its RV on display at trade shows. Or, when Jampro President Alex Perchevitch travels to the Middle East to sell an antenna, he could sell a package that includes gear from the other BIG companies, Brentlinger tells me.

“We’re not looking to cut any jobs” with this effort, but rather to save travel expenses, labor costs and time, he says. That especially comes into play for overseas sales.

I asked whether the companies would have a joint booth at the spring NAB; that’s under discussion, says Brentlinger.

For now, the six remain separate companies and he couldn’t put a timeline on any ultimate merger.

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