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Michael Flink, on the ADI-Sony Partnership

November 6, 2011 By Nancy Klosek
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Behind the just-announced decision by security and low-voltage product distributor ADI to carry Sony’s complete line of LCD TVs, home entertainment and audio/video equipment there were many reasons, but the move was part of a larger initiative, said Michael Flink, president, ADI Americas.  Beyond adding a premier flat-panel line and providing dealers with the choice of end-to-end solutions offered through Sony’s full product portfolio – which includes the company’s newly introduced 4K projector – ADI has also brought on former Sixth Avenue Electronics executive Tom Galanis to shepherd its residential and commercial initiatives in A/V, he explained.
     
 “We have a pretty big base of dealers, and one of the challenges they face is that there is broad distribution of a lot of product,” said Flink. “If you look at the market, everyone is coming out with super-thin LED product and new sizes. The nice thing about the Sony product was that it was much more limited in distribution in the custom A/V space. Also, our dealers were telling us they wanted product that had sizzle, more features and what I call ‘legs,’ for the future,” and 4K fits the bill nicely, he said. “It’s a true technology differentiator. We’re also excited about offering the Sony ES line.”

Another draw to the Sony brand, said Flink, was the company’s two tablet models. “We had not been in tablets, and see some market opportunity there; we like the Sony tablet and we think the integration of it with some of their products is an interesting play for our dealers, in terms of tablets being control systems. We’ll put the tablets in every branch even though we’re not going to drive tablets; we see them as part of the total A/V control solution. That’s where we are positioning them.”
 
While the main focus is to carry the premier-level Sony SKUs, ADI dealers will have access to the whole Sony A/V line.  “With our 97-location footprint, in terms of stock, we’re trying to pick the right assortment with popular sizes and feature sets, but if the dealer wants anything in the line, we’ll get it for them.  The 4K product will be available, but it will be what we call ‘warehouse stock,’ so we have it for immediate delivery but won’t stock it in every location. We think consumers are going to react very positively to that product.”

Flink added that he thinks the addition of Sony to the ADI family will attract more installers to do business with the company – and also keep current customers from needing to go to other outside ADI for panels. “We have always had a great selection of speakers, accessories, cables and all the parts and pieces, including multi-zone and A/V receivers, but had not had a consistently good selection of panels, and that sometimes drove our customers to have to second-source the panels from other distributors. This will certainly be a positive, and bring customers who are having to second-source in to us.  The fact that Sony has an integrated offering – A/V and panels – is a real benefit to our dealers. If you look at some of the other panel makers, they don’t have a complete A/V line,” and the integration, particularly on larger systems and the ES line will be a real plus, he said, while mentioning that Blu-ray player availability would complete the picture.

About the hiring of Galanis, whose title is senior category manager, Flink remarked, “he has a stellar career, reputation, and knowledge of the industry.  He’ll be a key person and our face to the industry.   By investing in top-notch talent like Tom, by bringing on a premier line, and because of the financial strength of ADI and our parent company, it all adds up to a serious commitment to the category.”
 

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