2 Feb 2018

SGM moves to ULA Group as brands migrate

The SGM lighting brand has made a move to ULA Group, significant given SGM’s rising market share due to its heavy LED push. The brand has been around a long time, but was overhauled in recent times by industry legend Peter Johansen who himself established Martin Lighting last century.

ULA had established the Robe brand in Australia and clocked up continual growth with the line over two decades. The departure of Robe to Jands wasn’t expected, and left a large gap in the ULA catalogue that SGM fills nicely. SGM has some outdoor lines, much of their range is IP rated, and everything is LED based. It is made in Aarhus, Denmark.

To make way for Robe, Jands had earlier quit the Vari*Lite agency, which now sits with its parent company Philips Entertainment. They have Strand, Showline and Selecon in the portfolio, and have an Australian and NZ distribution arm.


Cuono Biviano of ULA Group

Meyer Sound is the latest major manufacturer across the entertainment tech industry to announce changes to its ANZ distribution, with Audio Brands Australia picking up the line. This follows the implosion of Meyer Sound Australia in October last year.

Just prior, the long anticipated move of L-Acoustics to Jands in both Australia and New Zealand went public, along with the partitioning of the QSC lines, now shared between long time reps TAG and Jands.

After Jands sensationally quit the Harman family, CMI Audio swooped to add classic names like JBL, Soundcraft, dbx, BSS and Crown on to the Harman AKG brand it already hosted.

Mackie and HK Audio are now homeless as CMI resigned those lines to make room for Harman, while retaining Adamson, Axys, XTA, MC2, Tascam and other lines.

Over at Audio Brands Australia, loudspeaker manufacturer FBT makes space for Meyer Sound, joining the rest of the family that includes Earthworks, Rane, Univox, Mipro and Bosch Commercial Audio. While Audio Brands Australia handles Meyer in Australia, its parallel mini-me Marcel Reinen via Pacific Audio Visual Ltd is doing NZ.

Audio Brands Australia has some of the DNA of the now defunct Audio Telex Communications Australia. This powerhouse distribution company was sold to Hills in 2005 and after peaking at $80 million turnover went into decline. Along the way guys like Don McConnell and Marcel Reinen were ‘disappeared’ by corporate suits who didn’t understand the AV business – leading to them setting up their own firms.

If this audio chess game isn’t confusing enough, the lighting market is also enjoying the dance of a thousand veils.

While the Robe line is settling into its new home with Jands Australia, Jands are pondering how to style themselves as they also distribute Robe (and L-Acoustics) into NZ. They seek to avoid confusion with Jands NZ, a separate company that continues to represent Harman lines like JBL. Jands NZ also does not handle any lighting brands.

Finally Now Sound Limited in Auckland has acquired the Williams Sound agency – leaving Hills to handle Williams in Australia.

While all this is tumultuous, we hear there is more in the pipeline, as the distribution climate shifts and brands reorganize into clusters. What the LED is doing for lighting, object based audio will now do for audio as loudspeaker numbers on jobs exponentially increase to service the forthcoming demand for 3D live sound.


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