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Getting The Message Out

TWICE: Some of the things we’re talking about presuppose that people do a lot of music listening in their home. But don’t most people do their music listening on the go or in the car? Perhaps through home audio systems, most people listen only to home theater. Perhaps we’re overrating the potential growth for music listening in the home.

Gary Bauhard, Pioneer: Lifestyles have changed. Oftentimes, music today in the home is relegated to the background. Distributed audio has helped raise the bar in terms of people at least being able to listen to high-quality music in the background. I don’t know how much time people, other than the true audiophiles, spend in a structured way listening to audio. It’s either on the go or, if it’s not in a home theater/ environment, it’s relegated to background while entertaining or doing tasks around the house.

TWICE: Are we coming up with products to meet these changing lifestyles? Do we have to concentrate on the background-music market to drive music-reproduction products in the home? Is that where the future of music reproduction is in the home?

T. Paul Jacobs, Klipsch: That’s part of it, but I think Franklin’s comment about the Got Milk campaign underscores that we must create a very good aspirational message. If you talk to people who own a really nice distributed-audio system, and they have decent speakers in every room, they listen to music more than they have in years. And they see a really nice home theater system as a part of that.

We get nothing but really positive feedback from people on that because people are passionate about music. They’re not motivated to go out and buy a two-channel system, but they like home theater, and they like having speakers in every room.

I think that market was undersold for a long time because most traditional audio companies ignored it. Now, however, you can see the difference in the quality of speakers and components in whole-house sound systems. I think it is an opportunity.

I think we’ve got to get some consistency in a message that creates some aspirational purchase opportunities for kids [to groom] the next group of higher-end buyers.

Also, the fastest-growing age group in the country is 50-plus, and what we hear a lot from them is that the products are too hard to use. But when they get a whole-house system that’s easy to use, and they can play music when they get up in the morning, when they’re cooking, have friends over, and lets them enjoy home theater, I think there’s a tremendous opportunity. But we do need to get a consistent message out there, and I don’t think it exists very well today.

TWICE: Are the resources there for the audio industry to do this in an organized manner?

Jacobs: CEA has the opportunity to be on morning shows and to get exposure in the Wall Street Journal and things like that. If manufacturers work closely with CEA, we could come up with a concise message.

As an Infinity or Klipsch, I’m not sure how much attention we can get on our own. But as the arm of a $100 billion industry, you have the ability to get the attention of these kinds of publications and get exposure.

If manufacturers worked with CEA, we would create some new messages that work for all of us as a step-up audio industry.