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Waynick Looks To Take Vizio Up Market

3/07/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

IRVINE, CALIF. — Vizio chief sales officer Randy
Waynick said recent fourth-quarter numbers issued by
market analysts showing his company atop the U.S.
LCD market for unit shipments with 28 percent growth
was a testament to the brand’s decision to go more
upscale in its product planning.

The company that was once known as the “where vision
meets value brand” has picked up a new
moniker of “entertainment freedom for all,”
looking to shake the notion that the brand
belongs in the opening-price-point club.

Instead, Waynick said, Vizio’s big growth
last year came from TVs with advanced feature
sets and picture performance, as is offered in
the XVT-model series. The company also believes
that its decision to launch the world’s
first passive-glasses LCD TV system last December
has put it on the right track to soon
lead the industry in 3DTV shipments as well.

“We had an incredible year last year and an incredible
fourth quarter,” Waynick told TWICE. “The mantra
at CES was: If you are a Vizio dealer, your market share
grew. If you weren’t, it wasn’t such a good year for you.”

Waynick said he bristled at recent reports in some
national publications that the TV industry has hit a rocky
road.

“My perception of the year [2010] was that it wasn’t
doom and gloom out there – it was pretty good,” he
said. “The way the Vizio business model is developing so
quickly really is resonating and that shows up based on
what the consumers are purchasing and where they are
purchasing it.”

Although the company acknowledged plans to expand
its distribution into retail accounts offering great
sales support to help carry the more innovative products
in its assortment, Waynick said Vizio is content
offering a wide range of products and feature sets
at the core accounts that helped get Vizio
where it is today – namely, Costco, BJ’s,
Sam’s Club and Walmart.

“We launched our 65-inch Theater 3D
passive system in December at $3,500, and
our supply never even touched the level of
demand,” Waynick said, adding that some
of those sets were carried by clubs and discounters
as well as newer accounts with directed
sales support. “We can’t open up new
floors [for the Theater 3D product] because
we are still chasing supply on this product.
This really endorses the new thinking about manufacturers.
It’s not this heavy SG&A business model. It’s not
about inflated margin. It’s about bringing the best value,
the best technology and innovation to the market place
at a value price.”

Unlike LG and Toshiba, which will introduce passive
3DTVs this year as a lower-end offering to their
active-shutter glasses-based sets, Vizio is positioning
Theater 3D as its premium 3D line.

“To buy an active-shutter system, you are stepping
down,” Waynick said. “You’re spending more money to
get the passive technology. We think consumers get it.”

Waynick said that Vizio will not push 3D for 3D’s
sake, but will include it as a feature in a package of
technologies, including Vizio apps services and LED
backlighting.

“Our approach is not to artificially push people into
a 3DTV when they’re not sure if they really want it or
need it,” he said. “We listened to our retailers very
carefully. It’s a nightmare trying to sell active-shutter
technology out there. Passive is our future.”

As for its expanded distribution plans, Waynick said:
“We’re not trying to knock the door down and open up
to everybody. We are adding new categories and looking
for new partners, but we aren’t looking to simply expand
our distribution base. We are looking carefully at what
the consumers want and where they are shopping.”