LAST Christmas, Apple’s iPod was the only game in town. This year, other brands, including Singapore-based Creative Labs, are aiming for a slice of the digital music player boom. Creative says its recently launched line of MP3 players beats the iPod benchmark on both price and features.
Renaissance, which also distributes the Apple brand in New Zealand, will be handling Creative’s mass retail market distribution, while Morning Star will look after channel clients. The two companies are sharing the New Zealand marketing on behalf of Creative. Renaissance promotion manager Natalie Brown says there is no conflict of interest in the marketing of both Creative and iPod products.
“They are two totally different divisions with two different managers. Here at Apple we’ve got no idea what’s going on with the brands division,” she says.
Creative marketing manager for Australia and New Zealand Nick Angelucci says the new releases range from low to high-budget.
“We have players for every situation, starting with the Dick Smith specials right up to the big budgets,” he says.
Angelucci says that by splitting the market between Renaissance and Morning Star it allows both to grow their businesses and he is pleased with how they’re working out.
“We haven’t pushed the New Zealand market too much because it’s lagged behind Australia by a couple of months. Now it’s caught up so we’ve really got to shake our tail feathers.”
He says that unlike the high-end US and Japanese markets, Australasian customers are more price sensitive.
Angelucci warns resellers not to put all their eggs in one basket when supplying a product.
“We’re asking resellers to put the full range out there and let the customers know what’s available. The market is at the stage where everyone wants an MP3 player and Creative cover every price bracket,” he says.
The Creative MuVo2 FM 5GB has an internal one-inch drive that holds up to 2,500 songs and includes a built-in FM tuner and voice recorder. Aimed at commuters, the Rhomba NX MP3 player allows users to record from a CD player by encoding the tracks into MP3 format without a computer. The MuVo c100 was designed for sporty types and has stopwatch and laptimer functions, as well as splash-proof stereo headphones.
Creative says that, unlike the iPod range, the new range fully supports both WMA and MP3 files and the company has recently partnered with MSN music to allow users access to up to two million songs online.
“Apple spent a fortune on brand recognition and it worked to the extent that people are using iPod as a general term for MP3 players. It’s beginning to change because now customers walk into resellers and ask for a Creative iPod.”