Samsung Steps Up Audio Promotion

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New York - Samsung will launch its first audio-specific advertising campaigns this year to make consumers more aware of its expanding home-audio presence and further build its home audio share.

"Consumers think of us as being a leader in TVs, smartphones and appliances, but they don't recognize us as an audio company," said Joe Stinziano, senior VP for home entertainment at Samsung Electronics America.

In the first phase of the ad campaign starting in April, Samsung will promote its first docking tabletop speakers, said marketing communications VP Peggy Ang. Those ads will be followed, likely in the fall, by ads promoting Samsung's Blu-ray home-theater-in-a-box systems, she said. Like last year, the company also plans fall ads that mainly promote TVs but also include soundbars and HTiBs.

Size of the ad budget was not disclosed.

The HTiB and docking-speaker ads will highlight models that incorporate vacuum-tube preamp stages. They are the $799-suggested HT-E6500W Blu-ray 3D 5.1 HTiB, the $999-suggested HT-E6730W Blu-ray 3D 7.1 HTiB, and the $799-suggested DA-E750 Audio Dock.

 Docking-speaker ads will begin appearing in April in enthusiast and general-interest magazines, with web ads starting in May. The program will run for at least four months, Ang said. Print and web ads will also be used to promote HTiBs.

The docking speaker with vacuum tubes and one other docking speaker will be part of the company's

Unilateral Pricing Policy

(UPP), as will the two vacuum-tube HTiBs and two $449-suggested convertible soundbars, which can be split in two to create separate vertical left-right speakers.

In recent years, Samsung stepped up its audio presence and is meeting its "very aggressive goals," Stinziano told TWICE. Long a player in HTiBs, Samsung entered the soundbar market several years ago, added AV receivers in 2010, and this year launches its first docking speakers. All docking speakers feature stereo Bluetooth along with a dock for Apple's mobile devices and a charging dock for select Samsung mobile devices. Two docking speakers combine embedded Wi-Fi with the Apple Airplay and DLNA streaming technologies.

With the launch of the vacuum-tube products, "We're getting into the premium segment of audio," Stinziano noted.

 In ramping up its audio emphasis, the company took number one share in unit and dollar sell-through in integrated HTiBs in 2009, and in 2011, the company maintained its top unit and dollar share, he said. In soundbars, the company fluctuated in 2011 between the number one and two positions in dollar sell-through.

The company has performed well in these two categories, Stinziano contended, because of great value, innovative designs, and the tendency by consumers to "match their audio systems with their TV [brand]."

Samsung has stepped up its audio focus because "we have some unique things to bring to the market," he added.  One such thing is a Sound Share feature appearing in the top two wireless docking speakers at $449 and $799. These docking speakers use stereo Bluetooth to stream music and TV-program audio from select Bluetooth-equipped Samsung TVs. With this feature, consumers can stream a TV's Internet music services to another room or listen to TV programming in an adjacent room without turning up the TV's volume, Stinziano said.

In 2013, Samsung "will come back into the receiver space with more focus and innovation," having chosen to focus on wireless docking speakers and HTiBs in 2012, Stinziano said. The company is carrying over two AVRs this year, including a Blu-ray-equipped model.

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