Ross Video cutting more than 100 employees amid sales slowdown

Ross Video stock image
Tech companies like Ross Video and Nokia Canada are hiring fewer students this year, but expect to bounce back soon.

Ross Video is cutting nine per cent of its workforce as economic headwinds continue to slow sales growth at the Ottawa-based manufacturing company.

Ross Video CEO David Ross confirmed the layoffs, which happened Tuesday, in an email to OBJ on Wednesday. 

According to a company media release in July, the video production equipment giant had 1,500 employees at 20 global offices, including its main production facility in Iroquois that employed about 330 people.

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A Ross Video spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon the company’s headcount will be about 1,400 after this week’s reduction.

In a statement, Ross said “it was a tough day for everyone yesterday,” adding that the company is “now well-positioned for 2024.”

The job cuts come just two months after Ross Video announced it was investing $236 million to develop a full suite of cloud-based video-production software. 

Dubbed “Ross 365,” the new platform will allow Ross clients to quickly set up virtual production studios with cloud-based switching, editing and other production equipment. 

Financed in part by a $49-million contribution from the federal government’s Strategic Innovation Fund, the new cloud products are expected to provide a valuable source of additional revenue for Ross Video as the family- and employee-owned company looks ahead to a potential initial public offering.

Ross, the company’s majority shareholder, told OBJ earlier this year he expects to take the Ross Video public by his 60th birthday in April 2025.

“You sit there and you say, ‘Well, I can’t own the company forever,’” he said. “I put a lot of thought into what my options actually are.”

Founded by David Ross’s father John nearly 50 years ago, Ross Video has averaged 17 per cent annual revenue growth for the past two decades. Propelled by acquisitions and new product innovations, the firm has managed to double that growth rate in recent years and now generates annual sales in the $400-million range.

But the global economic downturn that sparked a massive wave of layoffs at other tech powerhouses such as Google, Meta and Ottawa-based Shopify has also hit Ross Video hard.

While the company still has 10 per cent more workers on its payroll than it did a year ago, Ross said sales forecasts at the start of the 2023 fiscal year suggested the firm would need to boost its headcount by 20 per cent to meet demand for its products. 

However, as its fiscal year end of Oct. 31 approaches, Ross said sales over the past 10 months have grown at just half the rate the company originally anticipated.

Although Ross said the company “never lost any business” and continues to have “a huge opportunity pipeline,” he admitted it has recently been less successful at “turning those opportunities into revenue” than it was earlier.

From its humble beginnings in 1974 as a manufacturer of a single product – production switchers used to shift between multiple cameras in live TV studios – Ross Video has evolved into a global manufacturer with dozens of products and a customer list that includes many of the world’s largest broadcasters, including ABC, CNN and NBC.

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