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Onkyo’s Triple-Brand Strategy Is Under Way

RAMSEY, N.J. – Onkyo launched a series of 12 invitation-only regional events to persuade dealers to embrace its new Integra and Integra Research brands, both of which are marketed under separate dealer agreements.

Each brand offers a DVD-Audio/ Video player, due in September, and Integra adds a trio of DVD-Video changers, including a $1,199-suggested-retail-price 301-disc model compatible with Escient’s PowerPlay CD/DVD disc-management controller. PowerPlay uses an Internet connection to autobuild a database of information on stored DVDs and CDs.

A 301-disc model without Escient compatibility was previously introduced under the Onkyo brand at a $999 MAP.

“Onkyo Corp. is now a group of three companies with different programs and dealer agreements,” said Onkyo senior VP Mark Friedman. The brands share some reps, however.

The Integra Research brand is targeted squarely at the high-end audio market, which Friedman described as “the domain mostly of American companies worldwide.”

Friedman said distribution would be limited to custom installers and high-end A/V retailers who are also active in custom.

Integra Research offers a trio of THX Ultra-certified components: a $4,000-suggested-retail A/V processor and $5,000-suggested-retail amplifier due in July, and a $3,000-suggested-retail DVD-A/V player due in September with progressive video outputs.

Integra Research-branded video display technologies are under consideration, said national product manager Sergio Batista. “We’re looking at everything in display, but we have to be very careful” in determining which display technologies will have “longevity.”

The Integra brand is “more mainstream in price point” than Integra Research, Friedman said, and more limited in distribution than the Onkyo brand. Integra distribution will exclude national chains, e-commerce sites and two-step distribution, “even stocking reps,” he maintained.

Small independents, many of them involved in custom, and some regional promoting specialists have been invited to view the Integra line, Friedman said. They’ll be supported with ads in enthusiast publications in August.

The Integra lineup will include one THX Ultra-certified receiver with seven onboard channels at $3,200 suggested retail price, one THX Select with six channels at $1,299, and one non-THX receiver with five channels at $600. An accessory amp will be available to add to the five- and six-channel models to create a seven-channel soundfield.

Also planned are three DVD-Video changers (five-, six- and 301-disc), a single-play $2,500-suggested-retail DVD-A/V player with progressive output, and a six-disc CD changer.

Two products began shipping in May, with most others due in July and August. One receiver and the DVD-AV player are due in September.

An Onkyo-branded DVD-A/V player is also planned for September availability at a targeted $2,200 to $2,300 MAP, also with progressive output.

Onkyo-brand share is up “significantly” in the first quarter due to a new receiver lineup out since last summer, Friedman said.