Jamo's mission hasn't changed—even under Klipsch, even in this era of iFi.
By Janet Pinkerton
During its fiscal fourth quarter ending September 24, Apple Computer sold 6.45 million iPods to generate approximately $1.2 billion in revenue. That's for the quarter alone, and it represents a 220 percent increase in iPod unit sales and a 126 percent increase in iPod revenues compared to Apple's fiscal fourth quarter in 2004.
Helge Fischer, managing director of Jamo US, finds those statistics "pretty incredible. What is amazing is that the audio separate component business is being dwarfed by a brand new item," he says.
Indeed, by comparison, the Consumer Electronics Association forecasts manufacturer-to-dealer sales for the home theater audio category (HTiB, receivers and speakers) at $1.67 billion for the entire year of 2005. That's down 12 percent from 2004, when the category's revenues came in at slightly over $1.9 billion.
Yet Fischer remains optimistic for Jamo and for the audio industry in general. "I think the lesson is [that] the industry is very alive. Make the product less complicated to use and people will buy it. It's about convenience. It's about portability."
Fischer believes the traditional home theater audio industry holds on too tightly to its old loves at its peril. "Some of the original products we as an industry cling to are very cumbersome, very difficult to operate, very difficult to hook up," he says. "And formatting is completely a disaster. The industry has more formats than is good for its own being."
There's also a sea change in how young people receive audio. Twenty-five years ago, young Americans and Europeans packed off to college with their first stereo systems. Now, Fischer observes, parents typically send their children to college with boomboxes, laptop computers and, in many cases, iPods. "That sucks up that purchasing power for a traditional stereo," he says. "We've lost a whole generation because of that."