Making Sense of Avid Media Composer Subscription vs. Perpetual

The entire industry has been moving to subscription pricing; fewer NLEs are offering perpetual licenses and maintenance plans. Avid Technology is also moving in that direction, incentivizing editors to switch from Media Composer Perpetual license over to Media Composer subscription.  What does this mean for Media Composer editors? Is it worth trading in Perpetual for Subscription? The answer may surprise you.

Key Code Media analyzed the cost of each option- Media Composer | First, Media Composer, and Media Composer | Ultimate. Below are the results of that analysis. For Media Composer users with Avid storage, the break-even to switch from Perpetual to Subscription is estimated over a five-year period. Below, Key Code Media will break down each Media Composer product, and provide our analysis on what might be the best option for your business needs.

**Updated to reflect August 30th, 2021 Perpetual License Price Increase**

The Flavors of Avid Media Composer

  • MEDIA COMPOSER | FIRST – The Free version. This is a lite version of Media Composer, targeted for aspiring Avid editors and beginners. Unfortunately, with only 5 bins, 4 tracks of video, and 8 tracks of audio, there is not enough features in this version for true professional editing. Media Composer | First also does not work with Avid shared storage.
               Media Composer | First: $0
  • MEDIA COMPOSER – For the Professional. Get a 1-year subscription and pay monthly or in full; a Media Composer perpetual license is also available for those who prefer to own the software.
    • MEDIA COMPOSER (Subscription) – Media Composer Subscription is yearly subscription at $199 per year. Scriptsync, Phrasefind, Symphony and other options are available but at an additional cost. Shared Projects /Bins with Avid Nexis is not available in this version.

      Media Composer 1-Year Subscription $199

      Media Composer | PhraseFind 1-Year Subscription $199
      Media Composer | ScriptSync 1-Year Subscription $199
      Media Composer | Symphony 1-Year Subscription $199
    • MEDIA COMPOSER (Perpetual) – A one-time purchase of Media Composer software. Unfortunately, to keep software current, the software must remain under support at a cost of $399 per year.

      Media Composer Perpetual License $1,299,
      $1,727 (starting on Aug 30th 2021)
      Media Composer Perpetual License (Dongle) $1,799
      , $2,238.75 (starting on Aug 30th 2021)
      Media Composer Perpetual License (Floating) $1,799 per seat,
      $2,248.75 (starting on Aug 30th 2021)
      **Media Composer Support Plan $399 /year, $499/year (starting on Aug 30th 2021)
      Media Composer Perpetual | Symphony $749
      Media Composer Perpetual | NewsCutter $499
      Media Composer Perpetual | Phrasefind $199
      Media Composer Perpetual | ScriptSync $499
  • MEDIA COMPOSER | ULTIMATE – The choice for professional Avid Media Composer editors. This option includes PhraseFind, ScriptSync, Symphony, and Newscutter. Media Composer | Ultimate yearly subscription is $499.

    Media Composer | Ultimate 1-Year Subscription $499.99

    Media Composer | Ultimate 2-Year Subscription $949.99 (Save $50)
    Media Composer | Ultimate 3-Year Subscription $1,353.72 (Save $150

Recommendations (By Common Needs) – Media Composer Perpetual vs. Subscription

(Estimates are based on 5-years cost of perpetual + support VS. subscription)

  • NEEDS: NO SHARED STORAGE, NO SCRIPTSYNC/PHRASEFIND. If you don’t have shared storage or need ScriptSync/Phrasefind or Symphony, the best deal is the basic Media Composer Subscription. At $199 per year, you’ll save $100 per year on support versus a perpetual system.

    Media Composer (1-Year Subscription) = $199 per year
    Media Composer (Perpetual) = $1,727 + $499 per year (updates & support plan)
    Media Composer (Perpetual + Dongle) = $2,238.75+ $499 per year (support plan)
  • NEEDS: YES SHARED STORAGE, NO SCRIPTSYNC/PHRASEFIND. Over 5-years, the total cost would be $3,723, vs the total cost of Ultimate, over 5-years, would be $2,495. If you use shared storage but don’t need ScriptSync/PhraseFind, your best option is to use Media Composer | Ultimate (Perpetual).Media Composer (Perpetual) = $1,727 + $499 per year (updates & support plan)
    Media Composer (Perpetual + Dongle) = $2,238.75 + $499 per year (updates & support plan)
    Media Composer | Ultimate (1-Year Subscription) = $499
  • NEEDS: YES SHARED STORAGE, YES SCRIPTSYNC/PHRASEFIND. If you use shared storage and need PhraseFind and ScriptSync, your best option would be Media Composer | Ultimate (1-year Subscription). It would take over 5-years before a Media Composer (Perpetual) license would break-even with the purchase of a Media Composer | Ultimate 1-Year Subscription. Plus, Media Composer | Ultimate gives you access to a suite of additional options besides ScriptSync and Phrasefind.

    Media Composer | Ultimate (1-Year Subscription) = $499
    Media Composer (Subscription + Scriptsync/Phrasefind Options) = $597
    Media Composer (Perpetual + Dongle + Scriptsync/Phrasefind Options) = $2,914 + $499 per year (updates & support plan)

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