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Panasonic gets new chief

Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems (PBTS) has more than just new products to show off at NAB. It also has a new president.

John Baisley last week took over the post from Steve Yuhas, who was concurrently president/COO of Panasonic System Sales Co. Yuhas had been heading the company since Frank De Fina was promoted to president of the Panasonic Digital Communications & Security Co. a couple of months ago.

Baisley was most recently general manager of planning for Panasonic System Sales Co. and has spent 18 years at the company. He will be responsible for all sales of the company's broadcast, professional video and presentation products and systems.

He sees his goal as a simple one. "One of the biggest changes in the broadcast industry has been that it has to run itself as a business while, in the past, decisions were made more related to technology than to cost-efficiency. We have to help our customers be more cost-efficient, help their profits and solve the problems they have."

Baisley says the breadth of the company's DVCPRO product line is an example of that approach. He also says, to better serve customer needs, Panasonic will continue to partner with companies that have areas of expertise it does not have.

Panasonic recently moved much of its Los Angeles-based operation back to Secaucus, N.J., and also cut back its direct sales force, relying more heavily on high-end dealers.

Baisley says the moves were simply a matter of more efficiently allocating and using its resources. "We're fully supportive of the broadcast market and will continue to be."

Panasonic hinted at most of its product intros six weeks ago but left a few to unveil at Sunday's NAB press conference.

Among the new products announced for the DVCPRO50 line were two camcorders. The AJ-SDX900 (available in first quarter 2003 for less than $20,000) is an industry first, bringing 24p recording to a broadcast SD field camera. It is also switchable between 25 Mb/s 4:1:1 DVCPRO and 50Mb/s 4:2:2 DVCPRO50 modes and can acquire in 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios. The AJ-SDC915 2/3-inch CCD camcorder is priced at less than $20,000 and has DVCPRO50/DVCPRO and 16:9 and 4:3 switchability.