Pressing Challenges Offer Opportunities
Our industry is facing several significant challenges this year. First, there’s the continuing DTV transition that will culminate next year with the shut-off of analog broadcast TV signals. Our challenges on that front are two-fold. First, we need to educate all U.S. TV viewers on what the DTV transition actually means to them. We know that there remains a great deal of confusion over the DTV transition including questions about who’s affected, what equipment will work, how to upgrade and where to get DTV converter boxes. CE dealers are the front line of that education campaign.
Second, retailers need to make sure they’re properly set up to deal with all the new consumer expectations. The NTIA’s Web site for applying for the converter box coupons (www.dtv2009.gov) is already up and running, but many retailers still haven’t signed up to be part of the coupon program. The deadline for applying is only weeks away. Dealerscope and CustomRetailer magazines are hosting a free Webinar on this topic March 6. This is an important issue for all CE dealers, and I encourage you to participate. You can sign up at either www.dealerscope.com or www.customretailer.com.
The next big challenge, of course, the state of the economy. When consumers’ pockets are pinched, the immediate response is to cut back on spending. Our challenge then is to position our products not as luxuries, but as necessary products. The DTV transition helps with that, as does the growing need to be wirelessly connected to information and content, thus driving the need for new advanced consumer electronics devices.