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B&O Boosts Pace Of Intros, Ads

4/05/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern
NEW YORK — Bang & Olufsen of America (BOA) has stepped up the pace of product introductions and consumer advertising in the U.S. following a 2008-2009 restructuring by its corporate parent and the adoption of a more focused product strategy.

From late last year through this summer, BOA will have shipped six new products, said BOA president Zean Nielsen during a press briefing on some of the new products. Now that new products are hitting Bang & Olufsen-branded stores, he said, the company has begun ramping up its advertising schedule with ad placements in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Globe and Mail, and Canada’s National Post. In North America, the company’s ad schedule had been “light” because the company was putting resources into new product development, he added.

The luxury brand’s new products include the BeoCom 5 DECT 6.0 cordless phone, shipping in volume at the end of March following a November prelaunch; the company’s first alarm clock, the Beo- Time, which shipped about three months ago; the 55-inch BeoVision 7 LCD TV, which shipped in January; the 40-inch BeoVision 10 LCD TV, shipping in May to June; a 46- inch BeoVision 10 LCD TV due later in the summer; and a planned audio product to be disclosed in the coming weeks. The products are sold through 47 B&O-branded stores in North America, most of them independently operated.

In late 2008, BOA’s parent launched a worldwide restructuring, which left BOA largely unscathed, and a new product strategy that, among other things, reduced the number of digital platforms per core category to accelerate product development and increase sales and marketing efficiencies. The strategy also focused R&D resources on three core categories — TV/video, audio (home and OEM car), and home integration.

The company remains in the cordless- phone category and launched its first alarm clock, Nielsen said, because those products are manufactured in-house, ensuring quality control, faster time to market and ability to integrate with core B&O products. The cordless phone, for example, features integrated IR remote to control the volume of B&O TVs and audio systems.

In its fiscal year ending May 2008, B&O globally posted a profit but fell into the red for the year ending May 2009. For the year ending May 2010, the company forecasts a much narrower loss or possible break-even status.
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