Last month, test & measurement innovator PHABRIX announced that Martin Mulligan was taking over as its new CEO – replacing Phillip Adams, who is retiring 18 years after he founded the company.
Mulligan has been with PHABRIX for nearly eight years, most recently in the role of SVP Sales & Operations.
He has served in senior roles in the broadcast technology industry for nearly 25 years following his graduation in Computation at Manchester University and since 2015 has been an integral part of the PHABRIX global management operation.
Here, Production360 editor Dan Cooper speaks to him about his new role.
What do you want to achieve in the year ahead? What’s your main focus going to be?
To continue advancing the company according to our original vision. PHABRIX is fortunate to have a team of exceptional individuals who are continually developing new and innovative solutions for both present and future customers.
What do you envisage being your biggest challenge?
I envisage that 2023 will be a challenging year for the broadcast industry. The world has been experiencing wage and utilities inflationary pressures which inevitably leads to reduced advertising and then budgetary spend. 2023 is also an odd numbered year, which generally sees a lower spend than even numbered years, as these typically benefit from boosted demand and revenues from either the Olympic Games or World Cup tournament. As always, PHABRIX will continue investing in new product developments and we hope we can continue to delight our customers with new features and innovations.
Where is the company’s biggest opportunity for growth?
The test & measurement market grows whenever there is a technology transition taking place. The SDI market is continuing to transition from HD to UHD, as well as from SDR to HDR. The IP market is striving towards ST 2110. Both provide T&M opportunities, firstly with the developers of new broadcast equipment and later through end-customer adoption. PHABRIX’s products have always assisted product development teams verify their standards compliance. Technology transitions benefit the T&M market, original equipment manufacturers and eventually the end-consumer through a combination of better, more creative picture content, usually at lower costs, as well as via more agile delivery platforms.
Where will you be investing most money – into new products or marketing?
PHABRIX has consistently made significant investments in new products, with approximately half of our team dedicated to research and development. This has been our ongoing commitment. Our marketing team has always surpassed expectations, generating heightened interest and excitement among our customers. 2023 will be no different.
What do you think is the number one reason customers buy PHABRIX products?
PHABRIX has benefited from strong support and loyalty from broadcast engineers ever since the launch of the Sx handheld range of products. The fact that our products can be utilised to quickly locate and fix issues in time-pressured environments has helped make PHABRIX essentially a fourth emergency service among engineers, especially for live events.
The products have been designed to be truly portable, intuitively easy to use, providing the tools essential in helping diagnose signal and media issues.
The same useability and familiarity has been carried forward in PHABRIX’s Rx rasterizer range providing multiple signal analysis through to our latest product, QxP – the Portable QxL – with camera battery support for remote 12G-SDI and ST 2110 25GE operation.
Do you have any plans to improve diversity and inclusion at the company? If so, how?
PHABRIX has always been a willing diversity employer. The broadcast industry is currently experiencing a skills shortage and so there is a real need to actively promote the career opportunities available to those either leaving education or considering a career change. This is already happening in the UK with organisations such as RISE, in conjunction with key UK broadcast players, who are taking live event systems on the road and into schools and colleges to ignite the interest in our industry. PHABRIX has been a committed supporter of this initiative. Through this process we hope to further attract and to continue building on our diversity plans.
Tell us about your background – what was your first job and how did you get into the industry?
My formative years were spent in IT with Hewlett Packard. The “HP Way” management concept was way ahead of its time and kindled great interest in management methodologies ever since. My entry into the broadcast market came about when Quantel required sales representation at Board level. I joined Quantel in late 1999 as global Sales Director. Six months later we delivered a management buy-out (MBO) from Carlton TV and embarked on developing a whole new Post Production and News/Sports Production family of products before acquiring Snell in 2014.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
Playing football/soccer at a decent level was my first passion, before coaching and mentoring players. Nowadays, its anything to do with motion. Each year I set myself a challenge that takes me out of my comfort zone. This has including cycling the Tour de France route through the French Alps, completing the London Classics (marathon, 100 mile bike ride and 2 mile swim of The Serpentine, albeit not at the same time). Most recently a 15,000ft sky dive over Queenstown, New Zealand. This year I have set my sights on the ‘Swim Run’ event in August, running over and swimming to the next islands off the coast of Gothenburg, Sweden.
What would success look like to you? What would you like to be remembered for?
Based on the activities above, merely getting to the finish line has often felt enough!
On a more serious note, success at PHABRIX is always about delivering our next generation of products, on time, within budget and over-target. It has little to do with me but has a huge amount to do with the great team at PHABRIX who make these major achievements possible.
For me personally, if one person feels that I have helped them to produce the best of themself, then I would be a very happy person.