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‘Churn’ Can Be A Good Thing

“Churn” is kind of a dirty word that wireless carriers and satellite-TV providers are all too familiar with: how many new customers they sign up during a particular period and how many drop their services.

Churn is not necessarily a good thing in those businesses. Churn is also a way of life in the CE industry. Just compare any year’s International CES exhibitor list with ones from a year or two previous, and you’ll see how many suppliers are surviving and thriving, how many new brands are entering the market, and how many have disappeared. (And that’s not including CE retailers.)

This issue of TWICE is a microcosm of churn in the CE business. On the one hand, we are revealing the results of the first annual TWICE Very Important Product (VIP) Awards, honoring those products that have been voted on by retailers and distributors.

On the other hand, you have a TWICE Special Report “Spotlight On Start-Ups,” which looks at how new CE companies get crowdfunding and advice direct from prospective consumers and investors via the Internet.

First a word about our inaugural TWICE VIP Awards, My congratulations to all the winners and the nominees, and my thanks to the many retailers and distributors that took the time to vote for their favorite products.

These awards are not presented just based on product features and product design, which are vital, but value to consumers and how they made a difference in business of retailers and distributors.

If you take a look at the TWICE VIP winners, as well as the full list of nominees, you will see a mixture of established brands like LG Electronics, Samsung, Voxx, Pioneer and others that have been around for years. Then you will see other, newer brands, such as Roku, Nyko, iHome and plenty others.

What you’ll find when you read Spotlight On Start-Ups, written by senior editor Lisa Johnston, is how crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo enable budding entrepreneurs or established tech veterans to present ideas, attract an audience, get feedback and raise funding.

International CES picked up on this theme relatively early, back at the 2011 show with the Eureka Park TechZone, a dedicated area of the show featuring innovative start-ups and entrepreneurs. Eureka Park has become a key feature of International CES.

So who knows which crowdfunded start-ups, or exhibitors at Eureka Park, may win a TWICE VIP Award, or other industry awards, in the near future?

Churn is a good thing in CE. While it may create havoc, high blood pressure and angst for executives in the industry, this constant development of new technologies, products and companies keeps the CE business fresh and new — for established players and new competitors, for the benefit of everyone, especially consumers.