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Outline to drive GTO into Europe

Outline's GTO large format line array has been making waves in the US since its soft launch just over a year ago. Paul Watson catches up with the team at Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt at its official launch to talk about the manufacturer's big territorial incentive...

At Prolight + Sound, Outline announced that its big push for 2011 will be to push its GTO line array into Europe and the Middle East – which is no mean feat, but a goal that is relished by newly appointed EMEA sales director Chris Hinds, writes Paul Watson. “What drew me to Outline in the first place were two things: the fact that it is a technology based company; and the fact that I was totally blown away by what they were doing,” Hinds explains. “The company is light years ahead of where I’d come from, and my job is to raise its profile – to get it right up there where it should be.” Hinds says the GTO line array can potentially climb to the very top of the loudspeaker tree, and that it is comparable to L-Acoustics’ K1 and Clair Brothers’ I-5. One of his first main obstacles, however, is to get that message across.
“A recurring theme is that it’s not on any riders at the moment, which is a huge battle,” he says. “But at the same time, we don’t want to come in all guns blazing; GTO is exciting – it’s a ‘big boy’s toy’, so we have to be very structured and measured in terms of who we approach.” The catalyst, Hinds reveals, is the success already achieved by Outline’s US division, which is headed up by Tom Bensen, who Hinds will be working closely with as he aims to increase turnover by driving GTO in the right direction. “Those two territories are key, and it’s ultimately the reason I am here,” Hinds explains. “We’ve proven what GTO is capable of in the States, and we’ve got to make it clear that this product needs to be taken very seriously everywhere.” And the US market certainly has taken to GTO so far. Credible sound companies including Special Events Services and Maryland Sound have got behind the Outline name, and GTO has already accommodated major international touring acts including Bon Jovi, BB King and Lynyrd Skynyrd. “It’s been a wonderful roll-out for a product that’s only officially been launched today,” smiles Bensen. “But of course the huge benefit is that this product has already been in the hands of some really high level sound companies in America for months and months. There are companies that do better by branding themselves and establishing their own divisions, and that’s what we had to do to try and compete with the likes of L-Acoustics and other companies. We don’t want customers to feel like they they’re going through a distributor, so when you’re talking to me, you’re talking to Outline.” Bensen says the next step (in the US) is to secure a major tour, which Outline is very close to announcing. Although the act cannot yet be revealed, Bensen says it is a major US artist and will be a four month tour comprising approximately 100 shows including major venues such as Red Rocks, Alpine Valley, and Jones Beach. Watch this space. International sales director Giorgio Biffi says the launch at PL+S is the “real beginning” for GTO; and that Outline can now confidently open itself up to serious discussions with potential clients, as well as pushing its advertising and marketing campaigns further. “The product is fantastic – we know that, for sure. But what we have to bear in mind is that manufacturing high performance speakers takes a lot of labour and power, so you have to either reduce your labour force in one area to accommodate another, or hire and train new people,” Biffi insists. “We are very meticulous because people that pay for this product will expect top quality and reliability, but we’re also realistic that this is a very big boat, not a small one, so it may take a longer period of time to make it sail the way we want it to!”