5 Questions With: Frank Lima
Industry veteran Frank Lima joined the Masstech team in April as our Director of Sales for Latin America, the Caribbean and Florida, bringing with him extensive media workflow expertise. In this Q&A, we get to know Frank better and learn more about trends in the Latin American media market.
What draws you to the television industry, and what do you love about it?
My attraction to the television industry started two decades ago, when I was at the University of Utah and worked at the PBS station. I found it exciting and gratifying that the work you do directly affects what people see on TV.
I actually switched to the cell phone industry back in 2005, but felt a bit bored by it. That industry was also highly commoditized, while in broadcast, there is a lot of differentiation and even customization that keeps things interesting. I came back to broadcast within less than a year.
What are the biggest strengths you bring to your role and to your customers?
Knowledge, ethics and relationships. I’ve been in the media industry for over 20 years. Having worked in TV stations, I have a deep understanding of their workflows and operational needs from ingest and master control to transmission, and I apply that knowledge to helping customers meet their goals.
I’ve had the good fortune to develop a lot of solid relationships over the years with customers, partners and colleagues, and I believe people respect my integrity. When I’m talking to a customer, I don’t see myself trying to sell them a product; I want to help them solve their challenges, and if the solution is a good fit, the sale follows naturally from that.
What do you think makes a great technology vendor?
The obvious first attribute is having great technology, but it’s just as important how they respond to their customers. Technical solutions are critical to broadcasters’ business, and with a lot of workflow customization and integration between multiple systems, there are many points where a customer may need support.
Quick responsiveness when a customer needs help is a big differentiator, not just if they encounter a problem, but even if they just need to know how to do something, or if they’ve changed their minds and want to work differently. And for the people that work for the vendor, it’s great if the company culture feels like a family, rather than just employees.
You’ve been selling media technology in Latin America for 16 years. What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in that market recently?
The most significant change has been in content distribution, expanding from traditional broadcast and satellite distribution to non-traditional platforms such as the Internet and OTT services. In some countries, consumer adoption of online and mobile viewing didn’t happen as quickly as it did in the U.S. because their broadband infrastructure wasn’t as developed, but it is accelerating. On-demand platforms also continue to alter consumer viewing habits, with an “I watch it when I want it” mindset.
Traditional television isn’t going away, but ‘content anywhere’ – including both traditional and non-traditional distribution – is the future. Regional OTT offerings are starting to appear, featuring language-specific or country-specific content, and we’ll see an increasing number of such localized services going forward.
What key trends are you seeing in Latin America specifically with regard to media management?
Media companies both small and large are putting more attention towards media management and archiving than they in the past. Smaller stations often used manual processes, simply dragging and dropping files in their operating system. They’ve now outgrown manual media management, because the content volumes they’re handling have grown exponentially.
For larger stations and media companies, they’ve generally always had some form of automated backup or archiving, but now they’re putting a lot more focus on efficient long-term preservation and protection, content re-usability, and disaster recovery across multiple sites. It’s exciting to me because we have complete workflow solutions to meet all of these needs.