Mitsubishi to add more distributor muscle

Mitsubishi to add more distributor muscle

Mitsubishi Electric is expanding its distribution line up in an effort to push higher end products including projectors, monitors and information displays into the mushrooming AV space.

"We haven't expanded the distribution network for some time," Mitsubishi Electric general manager, Richard Freggi, told ARN. "It has been stable for many years, but because of market conditions, we are entering into the expansion phase."

And while the new distributors won't be officially announced until mid-May, Freggi said the company was in talks with regional and state-based players catering to the convergence space - as well as specialists that concentrate on servicing the top end of town.

Freggi said any expansion would not affect the current distribution line-up, which included Also Technology, Westan, TodayTech and Multimedia Technology.

"We are still 110 per cent committed to our current distributor base, which has been with us for the last 8-10 years," Freggi said. "This is not a channel reshuffle - it is an aggressive expansion plan."

Westan managing director, Victor Aghtan, said he hadn't heard of the new plans but was not concerned by the move.

"Vendors will do what they need to do," he said. "They have to respond to changes in the market."

Aghtan pointed out that Westan already had a specialist AV division focused on the high-end space but said he was looking to expand it.

With the addition of the new distributor players, Freggi said the goal would be to double the company's projector revenues. Additionally, the company expected to increase monitor sales by 25 per cent, and beef up its information display sales by 30 per cent.

On the projector front, Mitsubishi wants to target the top end of town, the semi-professional market, which has typically been marginally serviced by the current line up.

"We've doubled our projector revenue in the past 12 months but we want to double it again," Freggi said. "We sold 500 units last month with an average selling price of $1800.

"We are looking at pushing the high average selling price units - not the generic sub- $1000 models. We recognise our distributors and resellers need the high selling products."

Looking to the successful launch of products in Japan, the company is anticipating an Australian release next month of souped up information displays and higher performing monitors with features including narrow bezels, better height adjustment and anti-scratch glass.

Dealers can also expect to see a range of home security products - including security digital video recorders - to be released in conjunction with the information displays.

"We are launching some big ticket items," Freggi said. "There is a market for $20,000-$30,000 information displays in the professional applications space. With monitors, we're pushing value-add and better feature sets."

Meanwhile, the company also plans to overhaul the way it services its current distributors and beef up on training and support programs.

Training programs, which are slated for the end of May, will touch on all three market segments.

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