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Polk Returns To Tweeter After A Decade

6/01/2004 10:20:00 AM Eastern

Baltimore — Polk’s top-end home, custom-install and car audio lines will get a significant increase in consumer exposure now that the brand is returning to Tweeter after an absence of about a decade.

The change coincides with a planned 50-percent cutback in Tweeter’s annual purchases of Boston Acoustics products beginning in May. Tweeter is continuing to offer Boston’s custom-install speakers and car audio products and hasn’t eliminated Boston products completely from its mix, as had been reported.

Tweeter is taking on Polk’s step-up RTi cabinet speakers, top-end LSi cabinet speakers and RM series of 5.1 sub/sat systems. In custom, Tweeter is taking on the step-up TCi series and top-end LCi series. In car, the chain is picking up top-end Polk/MOMO cobranded speakers and amplifiers. All series are available to Tweeter on a nonexclusive basis.

In a related distribution change, Circuit City will replace Polk’s step-up RTi speaker series with a new entry-level high-value series called Monitor, which is available on a nonexclusive basis and is designed "to work better on a fast sales floor," said Polk’s communications director Paul DiComo. "Tweeter and Circuit City won’t share a lot of products," he added. With the distribution changes, "We’re tailoring our products to fit the strengths of the distribution channels," DiComo said. The changes will also significantly increase exposure for Polk’s top-end LSi cabinet speakers and top-end LCi custom series, he said.

The top-end LSi cabinet speakers have been available mainly through custom installers, select independent specialists, the American TV chain and Crutchfield’s catalog and online store, DiComo pointed out. The top-end custom LCi series has been available only through custom installers and hasn’t been sold by Crutchfield or American. The top-end MOMO series of car speakers and amplifiers has been available through independents, American, Fry’s and Crutchfield.

"In some markets, customers had to drive hours to see our best stuff," DiComo said.

Polk didn’t discuss terms of the Tweeter agreement, including whether the speakers are available to Tweeter on a consignment basis. Tweeter deals with some brands on a consignment basis.

In other developments, Polk:

  • plans on opening-price Monitor series will be broader than the R series that it will replace. The R series consists of four speakers topping out at $600/pair. The new Monitor series will be priced higher and will add center channel speakers and subwoofers.

  • will completely turn over its RM series of 5.1 sub/sat speaker systems in the fall. Details were unavailable.

  • will enter the satellite-radio market in the fall with a dedicated single-zone XM home tuner. Additional details were unavailable.

For Polk, the launch of an XM home tuner will be its latest foray into home electronics, having offered a pair of home theater electronic/speaker packages. The company is phasing out the last of the two.