Proview Jumps On Branding Bandwagon

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Location is the key factor for a retailer, but for a vendor having a recognizable and trusted brand is the key to success.

With that in mind, entry-level monitor maker Proview has licensed the Sylvania and Xerox brands for use on two recently introduced LCD monitor lines and is considering doing the same with its upcoming HD-ready plasma and LCD television lines, said Proview marketing VP Steven Johnson. Proview will continue to market LCD and CRT monitors under the Proview and Mag Innovision brand name, selling these primarily through mass merchant and online retailers. It is also a player in the OEM monitor market. The late 2003 or early 2004 TV launch will mark the company's entry into this category.

Johnson hopes the new brands will give Proview an avenue into two new markets and their associated channels, the mid-range-priced consumer field, which sells through CE and computer superstores and the VAR and reseller channels.

"These brands will enable us to get out of the strict entry-level spot we are now in," he said, adding that initial contacts with new retailers was lukewarm, but now that Proview can offer these brands and a good, better, best product line, reception has improved. However, the company did not announce any retail deals.

Johnson described the deal as benefiting both Proview and the brand owners.

"They have the name, and we have the factories. It would be very expensive for them to build up the manufacturing ability that we already have and it would be costly for us to build a brand name such as these," he said.

The Sylvania name has been used on monitors for several years, but this is the first time the Xerox tag will be attached to a display product. This is not a detriment, Johnson said. "The Xerox brand brings with it an idea of quality regardless of the product category, we feel," Johnson said.

Proview is designing the products to fit the new brands and their potential markets.

"We are not just slapping a name on a Proview monitor, but creating models with the brands in mind," he said.

Proview is open to adding other brands that will complement Sylvania and Xerox.

The upcoming entry into the television market could follow the same branding path. Johnson said HD-ready plasma models with screen sizes up to 50-inches are planned. These products will be joined by LCD monitors up to 30 inches in size. Proview is now playing, albeit in a small way, in the LCD-TV market through a TV tuner-equipped 15-inch LCD monitor that is sold at Best Buy. This selection will be greatly increased with the new introductions later this year.

Proview is also giving the optical drive market a serious look. Johnson sees an opportunity for Proview to use its manufacturing capability to deliver cost-effective, high-quality drives into the U.S. market. He did not give details, but suggested the CD-RW and recordable DVD burners were two potential areas of interest. The first models could be available later this year.

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