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Disney Enlists Monster, Others In CE Co-Brand Effort

6/21/2010 07:03:00 PM Eastern
New York - A selection of TRON-themed consumer electronics products and accessories that Disney Consumer Products (DCP) will ship in October will be co-branded with the names of high-end CE manufacturers Monster Cable, Razer and Performance Design Products (PDP).

 The Disney/Monster co-branded iPod/iPhone-docking speaker system features a shape inspired by a data disk prop in the new "TRON" movie.
 A pair of Disney/Monster over-ear gaming headphones will retail for a suggested $349.
The co-branding effort is part of an effort by DCP to extend its CE product target audience beyond kids and tweens to the teen and adult markets, using products priced at around $100 and higher, said Chris Heatherly, DCP's toys and electronics VP. All are custom-designed and unique to DCP, and they leverage the brands of "high-quality partners with credibility in the consumer electronics industry," he said. At prices less than $100, he explained, people are comfortable buying products that bear only the Disney brand for children.

The TRON-themed products include two headphone pairs and an iPod-docking speaker system from Monster, a gaming mouse and gaming keyboard from Razer, and game controllers and iPod/iPad/iPhone cases from PDP. They will appear in stores in preparation for the Dec. 17 theatrical release of Disney's "TRON: Legacy in 3D." The movie is a sequel to 1982's "TRON," the first movie to use computer-generated graphics. The sequel will appeal to children as well as adults who saw the first movie, Heatherly said.

In 2009, DCP launched its first co-branded electronics product, the Asus-made Netpal netbook for 6- to 12-year-olds. In 2011, the company expects to extend its co-brand strategy beyond the TRON franchise.

Most of the TRON selection is targeted exclusively to CE specialty dealers, but PDP game controllers and iPod cases will also be sold through mass merchants, Heatherly said.

In the future, DCP will use its co-branded CE strategy to expand its penetration of kids' electronics in mass-market retailers, which in recent years scaled back their selection to make room for such growth categories as GPS, MP3 players, and iPod peripherals, Heatherly said. Now that sales of portable navigation devices (PNDs) are down, growth rates in iPod-docking speaker systems have fallen from their peak, and retailers' have scaled back their selection of MP3 brands to focus on the iPod, DCP believes it's time for mass retailers to "to refocus on kid's electronics," Heatherly contended. "Kids will always need electronics designed especially for them" to be durable and to meet their ergonomic needs, he explained.

DCP's kids' electronics products are currently sold by Toys "R" Us and some mass-market retailers.

For its TRON-themed co-brand launch, DCP will offer three Monster Cable products. One is a $349-suggested over-ear gaming headphone with noise-suppressing microphone for hands-free calling. It's due at Best Buy, Amazon and Game Stop in October. Those retailers will also offer a one-piece $249-suggested iPod/iPhone-docking speaker system whose shape is inspired by a data disk prop in the new TRON movie. It features lighting effects, and a free downloadable app for the iPhone and iPod Touch will add clock functionality and a music virtualizer display. Monster's third product is a $99.99-suggested in-ear headphone with microphone.

Razer's two PC peripherals include a $139-suggested light-up gaming keyboard with programmable macro keys and a detachable numeric keypad that can be connected to either the left or right of the QWERTY keyboard. The other product is a $79-suggested ergonomic gaming mouse with 5600 dpi 3.5g gaming-grade sensor.

From PDP, Disney will offer wired PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 controllers and a wireless Wii controller, all at a suggested $49.99. PDP will also offer TRON-inspired cases for the iPod, iPhone and iPad for distribution through specialty CE and mass-market stores, and on these, the PDP name will be less prominent, Heatherly noted.

The TRON electronics selection is part of TRON-themed product line that includes toys and a TRON game for PlayStation3 in 3D, Xbox 360, Wii and the iPhone/Touch. The toys include action figures, said to be the first with impulse projection technology to project moving digitized faces onto their helmets. The figures also speak. A Zero Gravity Light Cycle is a radio-controlled vehicle that can be driven on a wall because it creates a vacuum.
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