Senior executives of flat panel TV brand Vizio one of the most successful TV brands in the USA have said that they are not interested in Australia after a disastrous experience with husband and wife team Stefan Wisniewski and his wife Theresa the operators of PRO AV distributor Digital Video Technologies. They also use to run Vizio Pty Ltd that had criminal links.
In recent weeks Vizio has had several approaches from Companies looking to distribute their products in Australia. Among those to have approached Vizio is International Dynamics as well as a leading retailer who wanted to deal directly with Vizio.
“We are not interested in Australia or any other overseas distribution. Australia was not good for our brand we made a big mistake in the past dealing with the wrong partners” a senior executive of Vizio said.
Stefan Wisniewski and his wife Theresa Mary Wisniewski, who operate Digital Video Technologies. http://www.dvt.com.au has been described as a “bare faced liars”, took on the brand in Australia telling both resellers and the media that they had the backing of Vizio in the USA. This proved not to be the case. It was later revealed that the couple also had a relationship with a convicted criminal who had also been a shareholder in a Company called Vizio Australia.
The couple also teamed up with a conman and his girlfriend who operated an advertising agency called Robot Blonde. Run by Bronni Schmeri and her partner Emile Scott the business has since been declared bankrupt however investigations are underway as to the legitimacy of the bankruptcy as Schmeri failed to call in an administrator and is now trading again as a media company.
Schmeri declared bankruptcy after a Sydney court ruled they had to cough up more than $45,000 for advertising placed on behalf of the flat screen TV Company Vizio. There was also debts of over $100,000 to various media Companies.
In the US Vizio is a roaring success in the troubled flat panel TV market.
A fraction the size of Sony and Samsung Electronics Vizio according to the Wall Street Journal shipped 12.4% of North America’s liquid-crystal display, or LCD, TVs in the last quarter of 2007.
That’s just behind Sony’s 12.5% share and Samsung’s 14.2%, according to research firm iSuppli Corp. Overall, Vizio’s sales have multiplied to just under $2 billion last year, up from $700 million in 2006 and $142 million in 2005, according to the closely held company.
The WSJ say that Vizio’s success illustrates the rise of a new business model in the fast-changing TV industry. Big Korean and Japanese consumer-electronics makers spent huge sums developing and marketing their own technology, creating a high barrier to entry for newcomers. They also built many key components in-house, including the all-important LCD and plasma display panels.
Vizio chief executive William Wang entered the flat panel TV market after seeing an ad for a $10,000 Philips flat-panel TV. He sensed an opportunity. Rather than sell the sleek sets as luxury items, he figured he could make flat-panel TVs that were affordable to average consumers.
To fund the effort, Mr. Wang borrowed money from friends and family. He also mortgaged his home eventually raising $600,000. While he wanted to name the new company “W” after himself, he settled for “V” after learning that a hotel chain had claimed the letter. V launched in October of 2002.
Much of Vizio’s success stems from the relationship that Mr. Wang has forged with Taipei-based AmTran Technology Co. AmTran are a contract manufacturer that for years built computer monitors and TVs for companies like Sharp Corp. and Sony. Today AmTran owns a 23% stake in Vizio.
The arrangement gets Vizio preferential treatment. AmTran sometimes swallows shipping costs and pushes component suppliers to ensure Vizio’s products are high quality and on time. AmTran now gets about 80% of its revenue from Vizio. In turn, Vizio sources as many as 85% of its TVs from AmTran, according to research firm DisplaySearch.
For the rest of the Vizio story see: WSJ