Up in the Air
Paul DiComo, marketing manager at Polk Audio in Baltimore, admits so many aspects of the proposed merger are still unknown. Dealers are pretty much in the dark at this point, though Polk Audio continues to offer XM hardware, including the XRt12 reference home tuner and the XM-ready I-Sonic Entertainment System, as well as Sirius receivers and accessories. “Our parent company, Directed Electronics, supplies a huge selection of Sirius hardware,” DiComo said. “That puts us in a good position to respond to whatever may transpire on the hardware front.”
Like many authorized Sirius and XM dealers throughout the country, DiComo said, “We have a high degree of confidence that the management of the new satellite company (should the merger come to pass) will go the extra mile to keep both XM and Sirius subscribers perfectly satisfied on the programming and hardware fronts.” For Polk, that translates into increased sales and, ideally, an easier sell to customers who may be unsure about which company to choose now.
But because the decision is still very much up in the air—not to mention contentious—dealers may be in a very precarious place. If they come out against the merger and the merger is a success, will they lose authorization to sell equipment? If they criticize a merger that isn’t approved, could their fate still be the same? Christine Ramirez from Pioneer Electronics refused to comment from the manufacturer’s corporate communications headquarters in Long Beach, Calif. CEA also denied a request for an interview, saying, “CEA does not comment on pending mergers,” according Jenny Pareti, CEA’s director of communications in Arlington, Va.