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Dolby Labs Launches PC Initiative

Dolby Labs announced an expansion of its consumer-marketing staff to increase consumer awareness of its technology benefits and to further its penetration of the PC and PC-game markets.

The PC initiative includes the launch of an upgraded virtual 5.1 technology, dubbed Dolby Virtual speaker, which will be available in PCs for the first time in the fourth quarter, said Greg Rodehau, marketing director for PC and gaming technology.

Rodehau, formerly with NorthPoint Communications and Hewlett-Packard, is part of a consumer marketing staff that was expanded to four people from one. Ronald Vitale, formerly with Apple and 3Com, was hired as consumer marketing director. Reporting to him are Rodehau; consumer channel marketing director Craig Eggers, formerly with Toshiba in product planning and marketing; and Patrick Artiaga, who joined Dolby in 1997 and is now automotive and broadcast marketing director.

“Dolby has been focused on great engineering,” Rodehau told TWICE, “and now with the reorganization, we want to make sure consumers and licensees are aware of the value of our technologies.” Consumers are already aware of the Dolby name, however. “Consumer awareness of Dolby is close to that of Intel and AOL,” he claimed.

As part of its PC initiatives, Dolby has begun “establishing marketing-to-marketing relationships with licensees, not just engineering-to-engineering relationships,” Rodehau said. As a result, “in the next few months, you’ll see a lot of promotion of Dolby by PC manufacturers,” he said. The promotions will include Dolby Headphone technology, which creates a virtual 5.1-channel soundfield through a standard headphone pair and will be available from additional PC suppliers in the fourth quarter, Rodehau said.

For more on Dolby’s PC plans, PC game plans and other promotions, seewww.TWICE.comon Oct. 29.