Beta Distribution has launched a subsidiary company to provide audio-visual (AV) services to the customers of its resellers.
Beta Digital Media Services (Beta DMS) has been set up by the distributor to supply products such as smart boards and digital signage.
Beta had previously had a traditional transactional AV business - accounting for around 10 per cent of its revenue - but Beta DMS will now also provide the content.
"Resellers don't have to do anything other than give us the lead," said Beta marketing director Nigel Morris.
"From the uneducated reseller's point of view it's a great way of getting into the market and from those who are already in the market our proposition is really about the content.
"We have a team of designers here who will create content which no one else is really doing."
In the last financial year, ending 30 March 2016, privately-owned Beta Distribution claimed to turn over £170m and Morris expects this to increase to £200m next year.
Morris explained that the new company has been formed to deal with the increased convergence of the AV and IT sectors. He claims that it is no longer possible to just offer customers hardware because the expectation is that it will be connected to the network, which in turn will create a need for security, scalability and maintenance - therefore bringing AV and IT together.
Beta DMS has signed deals with tier-two vendors like Phillips and Signage Live and Morris expects to on-board larger vendors in order to attract bigger resellers.
"I want to emphasise that we're probably a couple of months away from being credible to the AV expert resellers, but even they would struggle today to provide content," he added.
"We'll have to have a proposition that is credible to the big resellers in this industry and that's probably 40 to 50 resellers.
"That won't happen for us until we have one or two more big vendors signed up, which we will in the next four to eight weeks."
Chris McIntyre-Brown, associate director at analyst Futuresource, told CRN that it is unusual to see a European distributor offer content for signage, adding that it is normally something associated with US distributors like Ingram in the US who have a similar model.
He explained that, although he sees a gap in the market, content has traditional been "a stumbling block" when it comes to digital signage because of the expense involved.
"To hear a distributor doing the next step, the post-sale side of things, is interesting because what you would expect is for the integrator or the reseller to take the managed services on - I haven't particularly heard of a distributor getting that far into post sale," he said.
"If they do manage to open up that group [of the biggest VARs] they would struggle to make that side of the business work because you would expect that's where the top 50 VARs would be looking to make their money - on the post sale.
"I would think the managed service piece becomes more interesting with VARs outside of that group who do not have the resource internally post installation to cope with managed service business."
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