Harry Cross

Oct 21, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: Chief operating officer of Snell & Wilcox, based in Hampshire, England.
Background: Mr. Cross trained as an accountant with Arthur Andersen and worked at the firm for three years. He also served as managing director for the U.K.’s Brimar, a cathode ray tube company. He joined Snell & Wilcox as COO in January 2001.
Defining the business: Mr. Cross has refined the company’s focus on product management and market strategy. “Broadcast is a good market, but limited, so we realized we could move into A/V and post-production, and we developed some new products for those markets,” he said. As an example, the company in 2001 purchased Post Impressions and its disk-based color-correction system, which Snell & Wilcox calls “Picasso.” The company divides its product lines into production and post-production, infrastructure and image processing.
The handwriting on the wall: The broadcast market is showing signs of life, Mr. Cross said. “The signs are definitely on the wall that there is an improvement around the corner. Ad revenues are starting to increase, so broadcasters will start to invest in infrastructure when they see signs of improvement,” he said. Another positive sign is that electronic chip sales have risen 15 percent year to year, a broader indication of economic health. “I think the downward trend has stopped,” he said. The year of 2003 will be a slow recovery, with a stronger one in 2004, he predicted.
Room to grow: As the broadcast business has gotten tighter, Snell & Wilcox is aiming to expand into digital cinema, post-production and audio/visual. “The big one out there is digital cinema,” he said. “That’s the big long-term opportunity.” The short-term opportunity lies in helping broadcasters monetize the content in their libraries and archives. “You take video, stuff it onto servers, compress it, put in metadata and make it available to repurpose. The opportunity to repurpose, to fill the airwaves-that’s where you make your money in continually reusing your product. But to reuse it you need to find a model to access it quickly, get your hands on it and around it.” Snell & Wilcox’s Ingest Station, introduced at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in April, is designed to begin that asset-management process.