Retra Conference 2007: Seizing the opportunities

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“AWARENESS of High Definition is high, but understanding of it is currently low,” said Andy Benson, Sony’s commercial director. He went on to explain that although the consumers love the HDTV experience they are still very confused about the technology, its potential and applications.
The HDTV market represents a huge opportunity – it accounts for 81% of the total TV market, but TV is only a part of the HD experience. The retailers should also demonstrate to the consumers HD camcorders, HD players and gaming, such as the PlayStation 3. Moreover, Andy appealed to public sector broadcasters to give people wider access to HDTV, as HD broadcasts are currently limited to subscription-paying consumers.

Micro-scale approach

Next Dr Kully Johal, a Bradford-based independent, describing how he had turned around his family electrical business, demonstrated the importance of having a strategy for growth and clear understanding of factors which generate margins for the independent, such as delivery and installation, warranties, accessory sales, repairs and returns and retail credit. He said: “An electrical business still can be profitable but the way the business is done has changed”. This includes an online presence which every modern business is expected to have.

Digital switchover

Ford Ennals, chief executive of Digital UK, advised on how to make the most of opportunities provided by digital switchover. He said that electrical retailers should be the key communicators and advisors in this process (36% of people surveyed by Digital UK said that they will contact independents for information about the switchover process). The digital ‘Tick’ logo is key in this process, so it is somehow surprising that only around 1,000 independents have signed for the logo. Consumers are aware of digital switchover, but still confused about its implications. Therefore it is crucial that retailers inform them that the process not only will affect TV sets but also recorders; and that they should rebalance their stock of analogue equipment which soon will become obsolete. A provision of full home installation service (including aerial solutions) should become a clearly promoted offer for every independent electrical business. “Digital switchover will transform television in Britain but it can also transform your business,” he concluded.

There is more to DAB

Colin Crawford, Pure Digital’s director of marketing, reminded the audience that the development of DAB radio has been advancing fast and there is now much more to it than sound quality, station choice and ease of use. He suggested that the retailers should also educate their customers about the benefits of the following features:

  • pause and rewind,
  • SD memory cards for recording music and information,
  • Electronic Programme Guide,
  • MP3 connectivity,
  • Intellitext – equivalent of teletext on TV,
  • Charge pack and snooze handle.

Latest from BT

A brand new profit opportunity was introduced by James Soames, head of customer acquisition, at BT TV Services. BT Vision is a new digital TV service which gives the customer control over what, when and how he wish to watch TV. Using the pause and rewind function, the BT player (working in a similar manner to a DVD player) will give a user access to over 40 Freeview digital channels via a BT Broadband connection. The ‘deal’ for the retailer from it is: a £25.52 commission on a sale of the rental box, together with a commission for each new BT Broadband subscription, and installation service. This could be an opportunity with a difference.

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