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Distributors Team Up To Sell Convergence

7/25/2005 02:00:00 AM Eastern

A dozen regional CE distributors have formed a nationwide consortium to offer IT- and IP-based convergence products to custom installers.

The consortium, called the Digital Delivery Group (DDG), also intends to become “a leading resource in training and technical support” on converged systems to installers, said group president Mark Friedman, a principal in member distributor Custom Audio Video Distribution of New Jersey. The group will also help suppliers develop products, marketing strategies and sales programs.

Member companies individually sell various brands of A/V equipment through custom channels, but as a group they'll bring in “names not necessarily in our business,” Friedman said. “We'll focus on a limited number of convergence companies, a lot of whom currently have no clout in our channel.” Lines brought in by the DDG will be carried by all members, he said.

Core products will distribute audio, video, computer and control signals throughout the house and let consumers manage content from multiple sources and locations, DDG literature states. They could include media-on-demand servers in the home, Friedman noted.

DDG differs from AVAD and other national distributor groups in that their nationwide product selections are broadly focused and include everything from plasma TVs to A/V receivers.

Saying they will be something more than just a buying group, the distributors describe their mission as becoming “the leading source for sales and education of digital systems and convergence products.” They said they will work with “all parties to ensure the right products are produced, placed with the right channel of distribution, and are fully explained and properly installed into the customer's lifestyle.”

The executive director is Dave Kaplan, formerly with Meda Systems, Huppin's/OneCall, Terk, Infinity Home Products and Magnolia Hi-Fi. He can be reached at (509) 995-1203.

Member distributors include New Jersey's Custom Audio Video Distribution, PCA Distributing in Southern California., Easy Access Distribution in Massachusetts, Custom Distributing in Georgia, and Custom Plus Distributing in Washington. The principals of these companies also serve as consortium officers. Besides Custom AV's Mark Friedman, other officers include PCA's Paul Collins and Easy Access's Steve Presti, who serve as co-VPs. Custom Distributing's Ed Smith is secretary, and Custom Plus's Bob Oliver is treasurer.