Exposure Is Key For New Exhibitors
by Jesica Webb

This year there are many new exhibitors at the Indiana Convention Center, each with their own specific expectations for the show.

For CoolAudio.com (Booth #SR09), coming to CEDIA was the next logical step in marketing the fledging company. Incorporated in October of 1998, CoolAudio.com is introducing an online service that provides a consumer-friendly environment for home theater and stereo system purchases and information. The CoolAudio experience introduces consumers to high-end A/V equipment from around the world. Through a program called CoolInstaller, consumers can have access to a network of full-service custom installers who are available to set up home theater and stereo systems purchases through CoolAudio.com.

Steve Faber, CoolInstaller development director, sums his company's reasons for exhibiting at Expo '99 in one word:Exposure. "We basically want to get the word out about our concept," he says.

First-timer CoolAudio.com felt the CEDIA show was a perfect fit for its service, given its history in the industry. "Everybody in the company has an area of expertise in the audio industry that goes back a long way," Faber says, "I've been coming to these [shows] for a long time. [but] we've never been here in a manufacturer's capacity, or a distributor's capacity, since the company's new."

Being new to CEDIA also means going out on a limb and hoping an idea will catch on. One inaugural exhibitor who is using CEDIA '99 as a litmus test is Carl Bocchino, owner of C.B. Electronics (Booth #1901) in Hendersonville, NC. Four years ago, Bocchino took a childhood fascination with a television set and turned it into a business. After seeing a Philco Pedestal in the window of a small TV repair shop when was 16, he vowed to someday make a reproduction of that very set and to never let its beauty die.

This is C.B. Electronics' first opportunity to show off the replicas at CEDIA, and, like CoolAudio.com, Bocchino is mainly hoping for exposure (and a few orders).

"This is a high-end item and not everybody can afford it," Bocchino says. "And with HDTV, not everybody wants to buy an analog television set, but I think there's more to television sets than just electronics. I think design has a lot to do with it. And you're not going to find a television set that looks like this anywhere."

Samsung Electronics (Booth #SR06), is taking the HDTV road for its maiden voyage at CEDIA. According to S. Thomas Rhee, director of marketing at Samsung's Digital Products Group, the company hopes to educate CEDIA members about all it has to offer. "Samsung has made a big commitment on digital," Rhee says, "First of all, we'd like to build and grow business with all the CEDIA members."

As to why Samsung chose to come to CEDIA, Rhee says it was inevitable.

"CEDIA's customer profile is definitely high-tech and also home entertainment-oriented, so I think CEDIA is a very effective channel to market this early stage of high definition TV. That's why this is the first time we're here."

Princeton (Booth #LL08), who had previously marketed its consumer products through an OEM, now has the opportunity to show its true colors at CEDIA. "We've done NAB and INFOCOMM and the professional shows," says national sales manager John Lowrey, "and this is really the first time we've really had access" to the consumer market.

Princeton, whose primary revenue source is with display devices, is introducing a whole new product line of high-performance HDTV products.

Lowrey defines a successful show two ways: expansion and exposure.

"For me, a successful show will be getting dealers on board and introducing our product. Those are the two goals that I have for the show," He says.