Fresh off the heels of acquiring Tweak Software, Shotgun has announced that they will be including RV at no additional charge for all their customers beginning in April. In addition, they've slashed monthly subscription prices so that the base package with "Awesome" support is now $30/month per person (compared to $49 previously). They have rebranded their subscription plus premium support level as a "Super Awesome" level and it's now available for $50/month per person (compared to $88/month previously). The higher pricing level also includes RVSDI in addition to a license of RV.
The price change is effective immediately and will happen for current customers automatically at their next monthly renewal date. Don Parker, co-founder of Shotgun , and Autodesk senior director, says this is a result of seeing what studios are dealing with from a business-standpoint these days and "making sure that price is not an issue."
Shotgun went to a simplified subscription model just over two years ago and it worked out well for the company and its customers.The decision making on price isn't easy and is actually "one of the hardest things we do," says Parker. "It's really hard and heartbreaking as an independent bootstrapped company, because you really want to do the right thing but if you get it wrong you either have companies not be able to afford you or you have a big loss in revenue."
Being part of Autodesk has helped them look long term at the big picture instead of being concerned about the short term worries of small businesses such as simply meeting weekly expenses. "It was a game changer when we came over, " says Parker, as they've been able set what they feel is an ideal long-term price based upon conditions in the industry and what their customers need -- and worrying less about the short-term.
In general terms, pricing seems to be less of an issue with the larger facilities who see a lower risk in spending money on a tool such as Shotgun as well as the enhanced support level. It's the smaller studios who are more price sensitive by nature and they're also willing to accept a slightly slower response time to support issues in order to save money.
This pricing also brings Shotgun closer to what their main competitor, ftrack, charges their customers. Ftrack costs $25/month per user or $20/month billed annually.
In February, Autodesk announced that RV was being acquired and joining the Shotgun group. The combined team is working on new versions of Shotgun and RV which work more seamlessly together and they'll both be released in April to all Shotgun customers. It's not happening immediately because they still have some work to do in order to better integrate the packages.
First and most importantly, the dev team wants to have a "zero-config" install of RV on Shotgun systems. Customers need to be able to download RV, install it, and have it running and ready to go without resorting to coding or sysadmin tasks. This type of approach becomes especially important as Shotgun grows its customer base to smaller facilities who don't have the kind of technical support staff seen at Shotgun clients like Framestore, Double Negative, Zoic, or others. And the new pricing will undoubtedly see adoption at these smaller facilities.
The second concern is more a technical issue, and that's the mechanism used for licensing. RV is currently licensed using a traditional network license server, which is different from Shotgun's monthly online subscription-based method (or the method used by the local/custom installs of Shotgun at large facilities). So the next several months will be used to address that question and make the needed changes. This isn't a simple issue to solve, as we saw in our coverage about Autodesk switching to a subscription model for their applications.
All of this will have no impact on current standalone RV customers, as that package will continue to be supported and fully developed without a requirement to be a Shotgun customer. The various versions of RV (RV, RVIO, RV/RVIO bundle, RV-SDI and RVX) remain the same, as does the pricing.
We've been a free service since 1999 and now rely on the generous contributions of readers like you. If you'd like to help support our work, please join the hundreds of others and become an fxinsider member.