DSI’s Robison on Satellite, CE & Connectivity

Distributor DSI’s Doug Robison, who lately added CEO responsibilities to his duties as president, told Dealerscope at the company’s recent selling and training tradeshow near its Dallas-based headquarters that after nearly six months since the division of its satellite and CE businesses, the results of the change were in line with expectations.

“Sales are definitely up on the CE side,” he said, “and on the DirecTV side of things, our recruiting is up; we’re getting new dealers. We’re ahead of pace for that, and achieving our goals there.” By the year’s end, he said, DSI is on target to add in the range of 400 new satellite dealers as customers.

One of the brightest spots for DSI this year is in satellite broadband, where the business it is doing with ViaSat’s Exede has grown eightfold in the January-through-May year-to-date period, Robison reported. “They recently launched a new satellite, and they have much more coverage and faster speeds, which has been really great for rural consumers who only have dial-up without access to high-speed Internet and even for those customers who have DSL connections but are too far away from the node.”

A major initiative in the last year for DSI was promoting showroom connectivity across the entire independent dealer base that Robison called “our lifeblood.” The company offered Connectivity Kits, and this year, has started an online electronic library that has so far been populated with almost 50 supplier training videos tailored to helping dealers thoroughly understand connected TV software features so that they can properly present it on the showroom floor. “The majority of our dealers got connected in their showrooms, which was our goal,” he said, “and they are accessing the videos, based on the amount of traffic we’re getting on the site.”

Besides being bullish about DSI’s dealers’ ability to communicate the connected TV message more effectively this year, Robison is also optimistic about the overall effectiveness in the market of UPPs and third-party pricing policies instituted this spring by several major TV companies. “I think it’s working,” he said. “The big question will be, in the back half of the year, when TV products become more available. Up to this point product’s been a little tight, and it’s easier for the manufacturer to control what happens in the marketplace when inventory’s tighter. As warehouses fill up, how disciplined will they be in managing these programs will make all the difference.”

Editor in chief of Dealerscope
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