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BMCC: What’s up, BMD?

October 6, 2012

At the risk of getting myself on Blackmagic Design’s sh*t list …    🙂

Concerning the letter posted by Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design, supposedly explaining the reason for the months-long delay in their shipping the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, the following is my personal public service announcement:

I don’t actually see any promise in Grant’s letter concerning further updates. The wording appears to be very careful. I don’t know if it’s overly-careful on purpose (e.g.: as if it were run past BMD’s legal dept.) or just by happenstance (which seems far fetched to me).

IMHO, Grant’s letter is a textbook example of the appearance of detailed information & full disclosure, but without actually revealing or promising much at all.

As I’ve posted elsewhere, IMHO, days or weeks before Grant posted his letter, BMD could & should have said something approximately like the following:

“We deeply apologize for the delay in shipping your cameras. We’ve discovered what we believe is a solvable issue with the sensor assembly and are working diligently with our suppliers to address the issue as soon as possible. The issue appears to be one that may take at least a few weeks to fully address, but until we have complete information, we can’t be more specific. Shipping date information is not possible at this time. We’ll keep you informed of our progress on a weekly basis. Thank you very much for your patience.”

Something like the above (the wording could be different) both conveys the seriousness of the problem and also sets expectations about how BMD plans to proceed, without revealing more detail than actually necessary. Most importantly, it promises regular updates that will contain additional information, whatever that may be.

As others have correctly said, once BMD got themselves into this mess by setting an approximate shipping date (e.g.: by the “end of July” or whatever) and encouraging pre-orders, honest communication was/is vastly preferable to no communication — or vague communication.

I strongly believe that BMD should tell us on a regular basis (e.g.: weekly), what they know, as they know it, even if it’s bad news or no news. Otherwise, the vacuum gets filled up with drivel like my posts. I’d rather read straight facts from BMD.

EDIT 10/11/12: In response to questions, I’ve added the following:

Since I’m making a serious charge against BMD, I’ll explain a bit more what I mean.

To me it’s pretty simple.

Starting at the NAB expo in April, BMD spokespeople repeatedly made statements that they expected shipments of the BMCC to start by the end of July. Myself and many others took that to mean that shipping would start around Aug. 1st or so, ramping up from a relatively small number of units, with volume increasing over the following weeks & months.

In all this time, there’s never been a statement on BMD’s website discouraging customers from placing a BMCC pre-order through BMD’s dealer network. Quite the opposite. In fact, their website makes it easy to find dealer contact info. Not discouraging customers from placing pre-orders is exactly the same as encouraging them.

At any point, if BMD thought there might be a reason customers should not place pre-orders, they should have said so immediately. Instead they waited until late Sept. to describe the sensor assembly issue. Yet BMD still does not discourage their dealers from taking pre-orders, even though BMD hasn’t declared BMCC production to have restarted, or if not, when it might restart.

Worse, BMD allows its dealers to take deposit payments, sometimes payment in full, even now when production continues to be a question mark. I understand that it’s up to customers to decide how, when & whether to spend their money, but under the circumstances, BMD’s attitude and actions (inaction) in this regard is not admirable.

So, as much as I look forward to receiving ASAP a fully-functional BMCC-EF that I pre-ordered in mid-April, and as much as I generally respect BMD’s products & tech support team, I’m very unhappy and disappointed with how they continue to handle BMCC marketing (e.g.: their encouraging pre-orders) and how infrequently they communicate with customers about it.

As of today, it’s been more than 2 weeks since Grant posted his one and only BMCC status update. Since then, BMD has missed 2 opportunities to post weekly updates containing additional info. It’s literally impossible for BMD not to have lots of useful info they could share with us. To give just one example: BMD’s dealers would dearly like to know WTF is going on. This saga is costing them money and customer good will. That’s just one example.

There are many other reasons why BMD should start talking, and the sooner, and more frequently (once a week would be nice), the better.


For my words only: ©2012 Peter J. DeCrescenzo. All rights reserved.

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