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  • Apple’s User Numbers for Final Cut Pro – A History

  • Franz Bieberkopf

    August 25, 2014 at 3:09 am

    There’s been more discussions of FCP X user numbers recently.
    https://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/67764
    https://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/71974
    https://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/71696
    https://www.philiphodgetts.com/2014/08/avid-is-the-most-used-nle/#more-14590

    Though I think user numbers are of limited value, it has become a bit of an interest to me (particularly in light of how secretive and vague the various developers tend to be, and in light of the sometimes outrageous claims here). I dug into past announcements from Apple in order to sketch the shape of the numbers that we do know (even including a graph!), and thus the growth curves over the past 15 years.

    THE NUMBERS – SOURCES
    (I’ve stuck to Apple or sources directly quoting Apple announcements, unless indicated.)

    1999 spring (Final Cut Pro 1.0 introduced)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_cut_pro#History

    2001 spring
    “… Final Cut Pro sold around 120,000 seats in that period [the first 2 years]”
    Phillip Hodgetts (unverified – I have no idea where this number came from)
    https://www.philiphodgetts.com/2014/08/avid-is-the-most-used-nle/#more-14590

    2007 spring (Final Cut Pro 6 released)
    “…specifically designed to enable the rapidly growing community of over 800,000 Final Cut editors worldwide …”
    https://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/04/15Apple-Unveils-Final-Cut-Studio-2.html

    2008 spring
    “… [Apple] told TVB Europe that the Apple had sold its millionth Final Cut Pro license …”
    https://www.macnn.com/articles/08/05/01/1m.fcp.licenses.sold/
    (This is notable since it is one of the rare instances of Apple indicating sales rather than “users”.)

    mid 2009 (Final Cut Pro 7 released)
    ““With 1.4 million users and 50 percent of the market, Final Cut Pro is the number one professional video editing application,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.”
    https://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/07/23Apple-Updates-Final-Cut-Studio-with-More-Than-100-New-Features.html

    2011 spring (Final Cut Pro X unveiled)
    “We’ve now crossed, at the end of last year [2010] over 2 million final cut pro users. What’s significant about that is not just the number, but frankly the angle on the top of the graph here. What we’re doing is we’re growing that base faster than ever before.”
    Richard Townhill (unconfirmed), Director of Pro Video Product Marketing
    https://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13961499 (approx 9mins)
    https://www.macrumors.com/2011/04/13/video-of-final-cut-pro-x-introduction-now-available/
    (Note that Phillip Hodgetts claims elsewhere that these are 1.5 million unique registrations and 2 million seats, though he provides no source nor reason for this.)

    2012 spring
    “Apple notes that there are now more editors working with FCP X than with Final Cut Pro 7.”
    https://www.postmagazine.com/Press-Center/Daily-News/2012/Apple-reveals-future-FCP-X-update-plans.aspx

    2014 spring
    “Apple announced today that they had more than one million separate installations of Final Cut Pro X.”
    https://www.larryjordan.biz/app_bin/wordpress/archives/2482
    (Note that Phillip Hodgetts claims elsewhere that these are “unique purchasers” but neither claim can be verified. It seems likely that Apple used vague terminology like “users” in line with past statements.)

    THE GRAPH


    – All figures based on spring announcements except “the end of 2010” (thus each graph column is 6 months).
    – The figure for 2003 is not from Apple and unverified.
    – The figure for FCP X 2012 is calculated from “more editors working with FCP X than with FCP 7”.

    SUMMARY

    The interesting figures here are derived from that 2011 announcement – Apple, by their own figures, went from 1.4 million users of FCP 1-6 to “over 2 million” users of FCP 1-7 – that’s a growth of at least 600,000 users of Final Cut 7 in about a year and a half – gaining users at more than 400,000 per year. That rate of adoption fed the optimism (or hubris) of the FCP X announcement: “What we’re doing is we’re growing that base faster than ever before.”, “Where does that leave Adobe and Avid? They like to believe they’re competing with us. The truth is, they’re in a race for second place.” (Richard Townhill (unconfirmed) from the recordings above.)

    But the recent growth curve on X seems to be counter to those hopes – something around 200,000 new users for each of the past two years. Thus far – by the numbers – it seems to be a contrast to the promise of FCP7 numbers, and a decline in new users since the year of introduction. (I’ve remarked elsewhere that this is particularly remarkable in the context of the number of macs sold in each “era”).
    https://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/68828

    It’ll be interesting to see what the next announcement of numbers indicates.

    Franz.

  • Bill Davis

    August 25, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Nice graphs.

    Lets presume accuracy for the purposes of discussion.

    Now everyone now can spin the representation…

    One side crows:

    “FCP X has roughly half the installed user base of Legacy at it’s peak.”

    The other side crows:

    It’s taken FCP X just 3 years to reach the adoption levels it took Legacy 7 years to achieve.

    Both strictly accurate according to the graphs.

    Pick your spin.

    Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com – video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.

  • David Lawrence

    August 25, 2014 at 6:28 am

    [Bill Davis] “Both strictly accurate according to the graphs.

    Pick your spin.”

    Agreed, I think the salient point is this:

    [Franz Bieberkopf] “It’ll be interesting to see what the next announcement of numbers indicates.”

    _______________________
    David Lawrence
    art~media~design~research
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  • Scott Witthaus

    August 25, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Also being ignored here is there is still a sizable group using FCP7. Perhaps you should look into the sum of editors using Apple NLE’s versus the others. Considering the introduction of X, I would be OK with these numbers.

    Scott Witthaus
    Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
    1708 Inc./Editorial
    Professor, VCU Brandcenter

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    August 25, 2014 at 10:34 am

    [Franz Bieberkopf] “2014 spring
    “Apple announced today that they had more than one million separate installations of Final Cut Pro X.”
    https://www.larryjordan.biz/app_bin/wordpress/archives/2482

    Does this account for the fact that each purchase is good for install on 5 machines with the same App Store account, I wonder? For instance I bought one for my ‘home use’. And its running on my MBP, my iMac and my MBA. So is this 1 out of the 1 million above, or 3 out of the 1 million above.

    Does it really matter? Maybe it does, because I use all three regularly (several times a week), but only I use them, and never simultaneously.

    ———————————–
    Neil Sadwelkar
    neilsadwelkar.blogspot.com
    twitter: fcpguru
    FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
    Mumbai India

  • Paul Neumann

    August 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I have it on two machines and hardly ever use it. Like once or twice a year. I guess that still qualifies me as a user. Don’t know how you track actual use.

  • Gary Huff

    August 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    [Paul Neumann] “I have it on two machines and hardly ever use it.”

    I have it on two machines as well, but I use it about 50% of the time.

  • Scott Witthaus

    August 25, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Same deal here. I have Media Composer on my machine and have not used it for a paying gig in over 2 years. But, I count as a seat sold.

    Scott Witthaus
    Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
    1708 Inc./Editorial
    Professor, VCU Brandcenter

  • Mitch Ives

    August 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    [Bill Davis] “One side crows:

    “FCP X has roughly half the installed user base of Legacy at it’s peak.”

    The other side crows:

    It’s taken FCP X just 3 years to reach the adoption levels it took Legacy 7 years to achieve.

    So another words: It’s faster, but it’s slower?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. As my grandmother used to say about statistics: “Figures never lie, but liars figure”. Basically, it can be whatever you want it to be…

    Mitch Ives
    Insight Productions Corp.

    “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” – Winston Churchill

  • Paul Neumann

    August 25, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I see what you did there. Sounds like 100% usage to me.

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