MOORESTOWN, N.J. – Over the past two years, iON America has taken its upstart action video camera company to over 6,000 North American storefronts, as the company’s CEO seeks to offer a worthy competitor to rival GoPro.
Giovanni Tomaselli, iON America CEO and founder, said his company’s key dealer partners now include all Best Buy stores, 3,700 Walmart stores in the United States and more than 400 in Canada, all Fry’s Electronics stores, TigerDirect, and Sports Authority and Modell’s sporting goods stores, to name a few.
Going into the third quarter of 2014, new dealers including hhgregg, Sam’s Club, Pep Boys, Canadian Tire and Cabelas outdoor sporting goods stores are scheduled to join the assortment.
“By Christmastime, we will be in at least 8,000, if not more, storefronts,” Tomaselli told TWICE. “Clearly, the market is desperately looking for a competitor [to GoPro] in this space, because no one shows up to a one-horse race.”
Tomaselli attributed iON’s faster start than a number of other brands entering the space to “not taking a one-size-fits-all approach” in its assortment design. “For example, we’ve got products that specifically address action video sports, and then we’ve got products that specifically address mainstream sports behind our ‘iON The Game‘ models. And to that end we have just become the official [online] action video camera for Major League Baseball.”
Under the deal, iON began its official status last week at the Home Run Derby in Minneapolis, followed by appearances at the 2013 All-Star Game. Plans are for a program extending right into the World Series, Tomaselli said.
At the Home Run Derby, iON digital video cameras were used to capture new perspectives from the traditional MLB showcase warm-up event.
The digital video camera manufacturer used the high-profile sponsorship to continue making in-roads into distribution territory that has been dominated by category founder GoPro.
iON said its arrangement with MLB involves the exclusive use of high-definition and point-of-view (POV) footage captured with wearable iON action cams. Footage is available to view on MLB.com and MLB’s various social media channels.
From there, iON action video cameras (a.k.a POV cameras) will be distributed around all of the ballparks, where they will be used for interviews and to record action in the bullpens; during the Home Run Derby, they were mounted to pitchers and catchers.
iON supported the effort with contests, including one offering the chance to win the opportunity to be part of the MLB video team during the derby. iON is also producing a webisode called “The Game I Love” that was shot entirely through the lens of iON cameras.
The MLB sponsorship marks an expansion of promotional activity iON has leveraged to help build brand name and product awareness within its targeted demographic communities.
iON has chosen sponsorship deals around key outdoor activities, including traditional sports like baseball and racing; outdoor sports like camping, hunting and fishing; and various extreme sports.
As an example, for the past two years, iON also has been the official POV camera of Team Lucas and Lucas Oil Studios motorsports racing events.
iON’s camera targeted at motorsports incorporates GPS capabilities, and the company plans two new models later this year specifically addressing in-car use, it said.
The iON camera system uses interchangeable modules that snap on the rear of the camera, called Podz, that enable each camera to be updated with new technologies and applications over time by swapping the Podz out. The elongated camera body shape was also said to have been designed for better mounting and positioning than competitive approaches.
This year, iON is also pushing the use of its gear within the hunting and fishing sports, by offering a new iON CamoCam that will be the official camera to Realtree (the No. 1 camouflage brand in the country).
“We are very competitive and active within the competitive inland and bass pro fishing community, which for the past few years has been using our competitor’s product in their boats. That’s going to be completely replaced by us,” Tomaselli said.
The iON CamoCam, which carries a $300 suggested retail, was designed specifically for fishing and hunting enthusiasts and is debuting in Walmart stores and Walmart.com this fall, Tomaselli said.
The CamoCam is skinned with Realtree Xtra-designed camouflage and includes a Realtree Xtra camouflage mount. The mount’s easy-lock technology affixes the camera to the barrel of a firearm, fishing net or compound bow stabilizer bar.
It pairs with all of iON’s existing mounts, including suction cups and helmet mounts for diverse applications.
The camera is equipped with Wi-Fi for connectivity, has a 14-megapixel sensor for up to HD/60 fps resolution video, and offers one-touch-recording with silent activation.
Other features include a 180-degree lens, 2.5-hour battery, and an iOS or Android app to allow interoperability and wireless image sharing with iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches or late-model Android phones and tablets.