Miranda becomes Grass Valley

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A piece of history, the cover of Grass Valley’s financial report from 1969

Just in time for NAB 2014, Belden did announce that both of their professional video manufacturers Miranda and Grass Valley will be known as the “New Grass Valley”. The new merged organisation will retain the Miranda purple but the Grass Valley name.

This was to be expected as it makes sense to keep the better known brand internationally. In a move that is similar to the United/Continental Airlines, the merged identity keep a distinctive element of the the dropped brand and it is the color. Without knowing the details, I can only speculate that for some user that did recognized Miranda as the more dynamic and innovative one of the two, it is a way to send a message that the innovative spirit will remain.

It’s also probable as it is really Miranda’s management that are in control of the new entity, much like what happened with the United/Continental merger or when Apple bought NeXT computer (the management team was the one from NeXT and it’s their technologies that became Mac OS X, but the name Apple was kept). And further, one of the most valuable asset of Grass Valley was it’s brand, not the technology. It would not make any sense to buy it and not use it.

Still, I can’t help to think that this is a bit ironic. Miranda was started in the early 90s by a group of engineers that were laid off from Central Dynamics (CDL). Back in the 1970s, CDL was recognized as a innovator and a powerhouse in the field of production switcher. Not only CDL legacy did provide the base for this Miranda startup but John Ross engineered the M/E concept there. John Ross left CDL to create Ross Video and his son David has been expanding it at an accelerated rate these past few years.

The irony is that CDL historic competitor was Grass Valley. The fact that Miranda has basically acquired it must feel a bit strange to those that lived through all this and in so doing now they are fully competing head-to-head with Ross Video in production technologies.

While I think the decision makes sense, I still have a bit of nostalgia of the once smaller and independent Miranda. It was nibbler and was creating surprises at a much higher rate back then than it has been doing in the last few years. At the same time, most clients in the top tiers in the market prefer to buy solutions from a large vendor rather than product that can be more innovative but require more expertise to integrate into a workflow so it is probably unavoidable.

And with that, I’ll wish the best to the new entity while at the same time stoping a few minutes to remember ¬†Christian Tremblay, the late founder and the inspiration that did allow Miranda to grow to the level that made all this possible (Christian died in a tragic car accident in 2006. He served as president of Miranda from it’s inception in 1990 to 2002).

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The inside page of Grass Valley’s 1969 financial report. Note that the written note is addressed to John Ross who was then at Grass’ competitor Central Dynamics in Montreal. This piece of history was found in John Ross old file cabinet that was then owned by Jean-Marc D’Anjou who was with CDL, then Miranda and his now an executive with the “new” Grass Valley.

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