2012 Channel Champions: Flat Panel Displays

ViewSonic took the prize in the category of Flat Panel Displays in this year's Channel Champions survey, but 2011 Channel Champ Samsung would not go away quietly. The result was somewhat of a split decision, with 2012 champ ViewSonic dominating the support and financial subcategories, and Samsung getting the top spot in most technical satisfaction criteria.

For support satisfaction among resellers, ViewSonic shined most for its presales and postsales support, and for its evaluation and demo equipment policies. It also edged out Samsung in the area of education and enablement by less than a percentage point.

Colleen Browne, ViewSonic's director of North American sales, chalks up the performance to improvements in the company's bid desk. "We work hard to get bids out within 24 hours, and 80 to 85 percent get out within the first eight hours. For presales, this is our advantage for servicing the channel," she said.

ViewSonic also is one of just a handful of vendors to offer 24-hour tech support. "That has meaning for small resellers supporting companies that are open on weekends," Browne said.

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Price for performance was one of the two technical criteria for which resellers favored ViewSonic. "This was a very good year for us in terms of displays," said Browne. The company expanded its products to include LED back lighting in more of its displays, but doesn't charge a premium for it, she said. "That may have given us an advantage in terms of value for the money."

The other technical criterion ViewSonic received good marks in was image adjustment.

As to Samsung's domination of the technical category, Richard Hutton, Samsung's senior channel marketing manager, credits the company's commitment to R&D.

"We put [billions] of our global revenues into R&D, and we're the second largest patent holder in the U.S., and we're No. 11 in terms of innovation," he said, quoting research cited by Bloomberg.