Inside ADI-Sony Partnership

ADI has pre-authorized 30,000 dealers to have access to Sony inventory in 2012. CRAVE dealers will have immediate access to flat panels, audio and video components and tablets.

ADI will distribute Sony TVs and home entertainment audio and video solutions.
Jason Knott · November 10, 2011

ADI‘s recent announcement that it will soon be carrying Sony products does not just mean greater access for dealers to more SKUs from the well-known brand, but it represents a major focus by the distributor on the A/V market.

One of the problems facing many CE pros with flat panel lines, especially during the holiday season, has been lack of access due to limited inventory. This new distribution deal eliminates that problem, according to ADI president Michael Flink.

“Sony dealers have to be authorized, which makes sense for Magnolia HiFi, but smaller guys had no way to get that authorization and there was very limited distribution support in the custom A/V space. But small dealers don’t have forecasting ability, so they have missed out on the supply. ADI has a great financial position so we are able to bring in the inventory to support them, so integrators are not reliant on what happens to be left in Sony’s warehouse.”

ADI has pre-authorized 30,000 of its dealers for access to the Sony SKUs, including BRAVIA LCDs. “Obviously, we need to meet with those dealers to find out if it makes sense for them, but we have a substantial base of customers that will be able to purchase the product,” says Flink.

Starting in Q4 2011, ADI is working with its CRAVE (Custom Residential Audio Video Expert) dealers, who are the distributor’s most experienced dealers. ADI will be working with those integrators first to determine if it has the right product and inventory levels. Then, according to Flink, the availability will broaden to include more dealers in Q1 2012.

The Sony ES line will be available to limited dealers, according to Flink. By late Q1 2012, ADI will start improving its physical displays of A/V equipment in its brick-and-mortar branches. Flink says there are plans to incorporate “more expensive A/V product displays in 2012.” Sony product will begin arriving in the branches this week and on the website.

ADI, which does not currently distribute Sony security equipment, has access to the entire Sony Entertainment Product line, which has over 1,000 SKUs.

“But we don’t plan to stock notebooks or accessory items. Our primary goal is to carry televisions, A/V components such as Blu-ray players, and we will be carrying the tablets,” says Flink. “My understanding is that anything that a Sony Authorized Dealer has access to, we will carry.”

The Sony deal is a big breakthrough for ADI, which has always had trouble shaking the label of “security distributor,” even though its does quite a bit of A/V business. “We have treaded fairly lightly in the panel business for a variety of reasons,” says Flink. “Our flat panel stock has been extremely low in the branches. With the Sony product, we expect more stock in the branches.”

“Strategically, we have a solid A/V business. We have done extremely well in speakers and accessories, and done well with AVRs with Denon and Onkyo, but we haven’t really had the total solution as an A/V distributor. We’ve just been too spotty with panels. We haven’t had the corporate focus on it that we will have in 2012. The Sony announcement was the first step to offer line of products that our dealers were telling us that they wanted.  It’s a top tier brand. “

In another sign of ADI’s focus on A/V, the company has hired longtime vice president and company spokesman for now-shuttered Sixth Avenue Electronics, Tom Galanis, as its new A/V product manager to drive A/V initiative.

“We have the executive team behind this initiative and A/V is one of our key growth areas for 2012,” says Flink.

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  About the Author

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at

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  Article Topics

News · ADI · Sony · All Topics
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