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Tivoli Expands Selection, Distribution

6/21/2006 03:27:00 PM Eastern

Cambridge, Mass. — Tivoli Audio is stepping up its direct-marketing effort and expanding distribution of select table radios to 1,700 Target stores while launching its first iPod-docking home hi-fi system and preparing to ship its first, and long-delayed, one-piece tabletop stereo-CD system.

In a major shift in distribution strategy, chairman and CEO Tom DeVesto said his six-year-old company will “dramatically increase” its direct sales effort in the fall by expanding its direct-response newspaper advertising from a handful of metro markets to more markets with more frequent ads. Ads will also be placed for the first time in magazines. A “whole family” of targeted magazines includes Newsweek, Time, Travel and Leisure, Food and Wine and Business Week.

Before it steps up its direct marketing, Tivoli will enter Target for the first time at the end of August in end-caps in 1,700 stores, which will carry four of the company’s original products under Tivoli’s unilateral retail pricing policy. They are the Model One mono radio, Model Two stereo radio, Model Three mono clock radio and add-on Model CD player. Tivoli’s design focus complements Target’s design focus, the company said. “We brought design and music together,” DeVesto said of his company.

With the Target launch, the number of storefronts carrying Tivoli products will grow to 2,200 from 500, said DeVesto, who hopes to raise that number closer to 3,000 storefronts with additional supply contracts in the fall.

Tivoli’s current brick-and-mortar dealers include Tweeter, Best Buy’s Magnolia outlets, Harvey and multiple independent CE dealers. Tivoli products are also sold by upscale catalog/online merchants Hammacher Schlemmer, Herrington and Frontgate as well as by Tivoli’s own online sites.

In new products, the company plans falls shipments of the $299-suggested iYiYi, a tabletop iPod hi-fi alarm-clock system that complements last year’s introduction of an iPod-docking portable stereo system called the iSongBook. The iYiYi operates only on household AC, whereas the smaller iSong operates on batteries or AC. The iYiYi’s included remote controls all functions of docked iPods, the integrated AM/FM tuner and other iYiYi functions. It ships in black or white with seven inserts to hold all iPods, including video iPods, turning the iYiYi into a device to play back music and video. Other features include Radio Data System (RDS) and two 3-inch full-range drivers.

A one-piece AM/FM/CD stereo system with alarm clock, the $599-suggeted Music System, will ship late September in a high-gloss lacquered wood cabinet available in three finishes. The product proved “difficult to voice,” so Tivoli delayed its introduction a second year until now, DeVesto said.

The 5.5-inch by 14.2-inch by 9.63-inch Music System incorporate three-channel amp, separately amplified 5-inch down-firing woofer, built-in stereo speakers, a dollop of DSP to widen the sound stage delivered by two 3-inch drivers, digital tuner, FM Radio Data System (RDS), dual alarms with battery-backed-up digital clock and remote. It plays MP3 and WMA CDs and has front-panel headphone jack.

In other developments, DeVesto said during a press conference here that the company’s first tabletop HD Radio might ship by Christmas “if it sounds as good as our analog radios.”

The company is developing a tabletop Internet radio but has to make it as user-friendly as its analog radios before selling the product.

A commemorative version of its SongBook travel radio will launch to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the first radio broadcasts to transmit voice and music rather than Morse code. The Christmas Eve 1906 broadcast by Reginald Fessenden from Brant Rock, Mass., was picked up by the only radios of the day: Morse code receivers on ships that heard prerecorded and live music and a Bible reading.

Tivoli will offer its SongBook travel radio in fashion colors as it did last year with the PAL portable radio last year, and has launched high-gloss hand-lacquered versions of its wood-cabinet table radios and will target the series, called the Platinum series, to retailers that don’t usually sell consumer electronics.

The company plans no new tabletop satellite radios to complement its current Sirius-equipped model.