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Wiz Founder Resurfaces As Industry Consultant

Trevose, Pa. — Marvin Jemal, founder and CEO of Nobody Beats the Wiz, the gone-but-not-forgotten New York metro area CE chain, has returned to the industry spotlight as a consultant.

Working the other side of the aisle, Jemal and his team of sales and marketing advisors have been enlisted by WorldGate Communications, makers of the Ojo personal video phone. Their mission: to help Ojo crack the big box channel in time for the upcoming holiday selling season.

According to WorldGate, the vendor and Jemal’s consultancy are developing “an aggressive retail distribution plan” designed to get Ojo shelf space in big-box and other specialty CE retail stores in North America.

Leveraging Jemal’s retail background, the partners are crafting “significant new marketing initiatives” to heighten awareness of the phones, which have been featured on the CBS-TV crime drama “NCIS.”

“We continue to see new interest in the consumer’s desire for a state-of-the-art video phone,” said WorldGate CEO Hal Krisbergh. “The opportunity to add Marvin and his team only reinforces our goal to increase Ojo’s exposure within the retail channels. We believe that big box retailers are ready to experience and accept the Ojo offering as we heighten and expand the brand’s communication platform. The addition of Mr. Jemal and his team should uplift both the brand and the category.”

Added Jemal: “We are convinced that the market is primed and ready to accept a full trade and consumer effort to purchase the Ojo video phone product, which is secure, dependable and easy to use. My team and I are very encouraged by what we see as a true partnership of delivering smart technology supported by a most reliable and dependable consumer experience that can immediately enrich consumers’ daily lives.”

According to the partners, the phone offers high quality, real-time, two-way video communications with video messaging at an affordable price. The Ojo is designed to conform to industry standard protocols, the parties said, and utilizes enhancements to the latest technology for voice and video compression to achieve superior quality at data rates as low as 80Kbps.

Nobody Beats the Wiz (later shortened to The Wiz) reached its height in the 1980s, when splashy ads and flashy stores helped make the 54-unit chain a New York retailing icon. But the company succumbed to the wave of dealer consolidation in the over-stored and over-extended 1990s, and Jemal sold his company to Cablevision Systems Corp. in 1998 in a bankruptcy sale for a reported $80 million. After five years and half a billion dollars in red ink, Cablevision finally divested the 27-year-old chain, which was shut by liquidators in 2003.