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JMC Plans JVC TV & Home Audio Redux

AmTran license has expired

The JVC brand will relaunch in the U.S. TV market for the second time in less than a decade through a new brand licensee.

Irvine, Calif.-based JMC, an LLC start-up, has assumed U.S. sales and marketing responsibilities for JVC TVs and home audio products made by Shenzhen-based OEM/ODM manufacturer Shenzhen MTC, which licensed the JVC brand in the U.S. MTC also licenses the JVC brand in other countries, including China and Korea, and it makes TVs on an OEM basis for other brands sold in Europe and China.

The first U.S. products will include smart quantum-dot LCD TVs and OLED TVs equipped with Google Cast, plus soundbars, speakers and smart-home products. All will be positioned as offering “tier-one [supplier] technologies and quality at affordable prices,” said JMC chief technologist John Araki, who will oversee product development. Quantum-dot TVs will be available late in the second quarter followed by OLED TVs, said JMC’s Chanel O’Connor.

The JMC-MTC partnership replaces Taiwan-based ODM/OEM manufacturer AmTran Video, which in 2011 began marketing and manufacturing JVC-brand TVs under license in North America and Asia. AmTran stepped in after JVC left the TV market in 2010 during the Great Recession and after its merger with Kenwood.

AmTran also makes TVs for other brands and was a minority owner of Vizio while it marketed the JVC brand through clubs and regional retailers such as PC Richards, BrandsMart, Video Only and Paul’s TV. At the time, AmTran executives said they positioned JVC as offering high-value products with state-of-the art features and performance. AmTran also engaged in such marketing activities as sponsoring charitable activities by the NFL Alumni Association and signing PGA golf champ Stewart Cink as brand ambassador.

AmTran’s license agreement expired at the end of 2015 but was extended for a while, said Araki, who contended the brand was positioned mainly as an opening-price brand.

JMC plans to leverage JVC’s reputation for premium technology and performance among older generations while bringing the brand message to younger generations through social media, digital advertising, events sponsorships, and engaging bloggers. JMC also has a two-year agreement with the NFL Alumni Association to engage in charitable work, which appeals to millennials prefer companies that do good deeds, O’Connor said.

The product lineup includes three series of 49- to 65-inch quantum-dot TVs with HDR 10 in three series, one with slim bezels, a step-up bezel-less series, and a curved series. Prices haven’t been assigned as yet.

The OLED line will consist of a 55- and 65-inch model, also with HDR 10.

All of the TVs can be controlled by voice through smart speakers equipped with Google Assistant.