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Salespeople Drove Receiver’s Success

The enthusiasm of retail salespeople and Yamaha’s reputation for performance and advanced technology made Yamaha’s RX-V1000 home theater receiver the top-selling receiver in its class before it was discontinued, said national marketing director Tom Graham.

Among receivers street-priced from $500-$999, the V1000 outsold every other receiver in units at retail during the 12 months ending April 2002, according to NPDTechworld. It edged out a Denon model as the category’s best seller and joined three other Yamaha receivers in the top five spots.

“The total number of features and overall performance at the price point were unique,” Graham said of the product’s sell-through success. “There was a lot of value for the dollar.” The over-$500 price range, he added, “traditionally is our strongest area.”

Yamaha didn’t develop special promotions or use spiffs to support this particular model, Graham noted. The product’s 40-point margin was comparable to the margins of other receivers in the price range, he added.

“Our reputation was established on the sales floor, so sales were driven by retailers even though the V1000’s replacement was on the market [at the same time],” Graham noted.

In August 2001, the V1000’s price was reduced to a suggested $799 from $999, and its replacement, the $1,200-suggested RX-V2200, was reduced in price to $999. “Then it [the V1000] boomed even more,” he said. “Good volume became real good with the price reduction.” A total of 71 percent of the model’s unit volume occurred during the August-December 2001 period, he added.

In part, the V1000 benefited from the momentum created by its predecessor, the RX-V995, which was also number one, Graham said. But the V1000’s technology package was also critical to its success, he noted.

Graham pointed out, for example, that the V1000 was one of the first receivers with RS232C port and plug-and-play compatibility with AMX (then Panja) home-control systems. The receiver was also among the first receivers with the ability to decode soundtracks in the 6.1-channel Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES formats. To reproduce the sixth channel, consumers could add an extra amplifier via the rear-center-channel preout, or they could use Yamaha’s virtual surround technology to create a phantom rear-center channel.

The receiver was also among the first to use a virtual-surround technology that delivered surround sound effects through a standard two-channel headphone, Graham said. “It was unusual at the time.”

On top of that, Yamaha’s higher-priced receivers are known for DSP modes that reproduce the acoustics of specific music venues and movie-theater venues. In fact, it was Yamaha’s first $999-suggested receiver to reproduce the ambience of New York City’s Bottom Line, Graham said.

Also aiding sell-though was Yamaha’s reputation for product reliability, he added.