Nero to liquefy its channel

Nero today unveiled, Nero 9, the newest version of its flagship multimedia burning software solution, in addition to two brand new products for what the Karlsbad, Germany-based vendor calls the liquid media market.

While the privately-held company has operations worldwide, about one-third of its total revenue streams from Canada. Richard Carriere, president of the Americas for Nero, Inc., said especially in Canada, Nero relies heavily on the channel to help bring its products to end-users.

“We have tight relationships with Best Buy, Future Shop, Office Depot, Staples and other key retailers in Canada,” Carriere said. “When new products come out, it puts us in a good place because the retailers help give us location and room for these new products.”

Carriere explains Nero is expanding its feature-set to include products that will enable users to listen, create and distribute media content anywhere and anytime. This is what he says the company is calling, liquid media. Its liquid media portfolio includes the Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC, a solution that brings the TiVo service using Nero technology to any PC or portable device, as well as Nero Move it, a solution for multi-media enthusiasts that transcodes media files to any portable device. Nero Move it is available now through Nero’s retail channel and also online, while Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC will be available beginning Oct. 15 through retail and online too.

For the channel, Carriere explains Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC is the type of product many retailers are getting excited about.

“This is the kind of product you’ll see being sold next to TVs and other displays,” he said. “Mainstream consumers are now reaching a point where there’s lots of digital media content available. They live with the promise that they can enjoy content anywhere and anytime; whether it’s through their TV, PC or other portable device.”

Before, Carriere said watching TV through one’s PC was a challenge because there wasn’t any software available that would provide burning, storage and processing power capabilities. With Nero’s LiquidTV | TiVo PC software solution, he says the ultimate TV experience can now be brought to devices other than TVs. Users can watch, record, pause and transfer shows to their desktop or other portable device such as an iPod, PlayStation Portable (PSP), or a DVD. Carriere said even the most inexperienced technical user can install the software in a matter of minutes.

“The solution helps recreate the experience for watching and playing back live TV,” Carriere said. “It’s the power of a PC combined with the service of TiVo. The retail version is our all-in-one solution which we think will do well with retailers. It includes hardware, software and service for $199.”

For end-users who only may only want the software, Carriere said a downloadable software-only version of the Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC product will also be available for $99.

The Nero Move it solution is a plug-and-play software solution that gives users the ability to easily and quickly convert media content such as music, videos and photos from one file format to another for user across a variety of different types of portable devices.

“This is a utility product that brings together all of our technologies for transcoding, indexing and copying,” Carriere said. “It’s a solution for enthusiasts who don’t want to worry about technology because it’s an easy-to-use, solid piece of software.”

Once the user’s portable device is plugged into the PC, Nero Move it will automatically and intuitively recognize the device and will then work to convert the content into the appropriate file format to then transfer to portable devices and online Web sites such as YouTube. This solution is now available through retail at a suggested retail price of $49.99.

For the channel, Carriere says especially with consumer software, the channel can obtain anywhere between 10 to 30 per cent margins. The solutions can also be bundled together with other retail offerings to increase margin points as well, he mentions.

Also available today, is Nero 9, the company’s latest version of the multimedia suite. The software solution allows users to create, edit, rip, copy, backup, convert and share their media content either in the home, through online communities, or through portable devices.

“We have more tasks and new backup and playback capabilities,” Carriere said. “We also have one-click wizards to allow users to create professional content and we’ve also enhanced our data recovery tools and our home media tools.”

Craig Campbell, technical director for Nero Inc., said version 9 now includes an enhanced Nero StartSmart intuitive command centre, that’s designed as an easy-to-use user interface (UI). With the launch pad, users can quickly find and select how they’d like to work with their media content, whether it’s photos, audio files, slideshows or other types of content.

“We’ve also introduced a more advanced recovery capability so if you have a scratched disc, you can do a fast or deep scan to see what files can be recovered,” Campbell said. “The software even has the ability to recover data that wasn’t completely written.”

Nero 9 is now available at a price point of $99.99 through participating retailers and also online. Even though the suite is widely popular with consumers, Carriere says the suite is also being used in the volume licensing space with sectors such as the Canadian government and financial institutions, which are using the suite to burn and also edit videos to capture, create and archive videos.

Moving forward, Carriere says the direction Nero is headed is in continuing to bring to market products that will allow for enjoyable consumer experiences.

“We’re moving our branding away from being Nero, because technology counts, to Nero, simply enjoy,” he said. “We want to make our products easy to use so customers can enjoy their media anytime, anywhere.”

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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