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Tiger Group Achieves Record Sales of Pro-Grade Audiovisual Gear in 2020

February 22, 2021

Firm’s AV practice posts 37.9% increase in total dollar volume in 2020; highlights include auction of $15 million in gear from one of Canada’s top live-event rental production houses.

Tiger Group’s Commercial & Industrial (C&I) Division posted record sales of pro-grade audiovisual equipment in 2020, due in part to the need for live-event production companies to liquidate excess and underutilized gear as a result of business challenges created by Covid-19.

“Production of films and TV shows is rebounding where possible thanks to the development of industrywide best practices on safety,” noted Jonathan Holiday, Director of Business Development for L.A.-based Tiger C&I and leader of its AV practice. “However, the live-event side of the AV business continues to struggle. It’s part of why we sold such a tremendous number of mixing boards, speakers and other equipment used for live events over the course of last year.”

Tiger C&I’s total dollar volume for AV auctions, private treaty and other sales climbed 37.9 percent in 2020 despite the halt to production that occurred at the beginning of the devastating Covid pandemic, Holiday noted.  The total number of AV lots sold increased by 21.2 percent from 2019 levels.

In all, Tiger’s 2020 AV sales attracted a record number of bidders from across the U.S. and 21 countries. Those results were fortified by marketing efforts that delivered a 7.3% increase in Tiger’s AV contacts from the close of 2019.

For Tiger’s AV clients, available strategies include live, webcast or online-only auction events conducted via, in addition to turnkey sales, liquidations, and private-treaty sales.  During the past year, the sell-through rate for AV sales was nearly 100 percent, Holiday said.

The growing division’s AV-focused sales during 2020 were located in both the United States and Canada. Holiday and his team worked on behalf of five different major clients: Keslow Camera, Westbury National Show Systems, The Camera Division, Schulman, and Sim Digital,  with several holding multiple sales with Tiger during 2020.

Among the highlights of the year was Tiger C&I’s first AV sale in Canada, conducted on behalf of creditors of Westbury National, which was placed in receivership in October 2020. The company had long been one of the Canada’s largest full-service live event rental production firms.

The first step was for Tiger to evaluate the extensive inventory in Westbury’s 60,000-square-foot metro Toronto facility. As a result of that effort, Tiger developed a two-tiered plan to maximize the value of the recovery—a priced liquidation, followed by a series of auctions focused on specific product categories. “A key component of our strategy was to avoid flooding the market with this sought-after equipment,” Holiday noted. “Our proven, tiered approach enabled us to maintain price sustainability.”

The main Westbury auctions took place over three days in November, followed by a fourth in December for a smaller, highly specialized division. The Toronto events offered an expansive inventory of audio equipment, lighting, video gear and more valued in excess of $15 million. In response to Tiger’s multi-channel marketing campaign, hundreds of inquiries poured in from buyers all over the globe, including rental and production companies, houses of worship and universities, Holiday noted.

“We pushed out an email on a Friday and by Monday had received hundreds of inquiries,” said the veteran auctioneer. “By the end of the sale, we had the largest number of inquiries for any AV sale we’ve ever done, attracting bidders from Canada, the U.S., The Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. It was a very successful sale.”

Another noteworthy deal in 2020 was Tiger C&I’s private treaty sale of a 42-foot Freightliner mobile production truck packed with state-of-the-art AV equipment. “With the buyer located in Hawaii, this massive truck was shipped across the Pacific from Los Angeles,” Holiday noted.

In its core AV product lines, throughout 2020 Tiger saw continued strong  demand for equipment such as lenses from Cooke, Zeiss and Ultra Prime, and digital cameras by manufacturers such as Arri and Sony. As in 2019, some of these sales of excess gear supported the ongoing operations of healthy production rental companies such as Keslow Camera, which maintains eight offices across North America.

Moving forward, Holiday anticipates a continuation of 2020 trends for at least the next six months. “If all goes well with the national vaccination campaign, we should see an even-more-robust recovery of production and eventually more theaters reopening,” he said. “However, it’s likely that live events will continue to lag behind other sectors.”

By tapping the value of excess and underutilized equipment, the executive adds, AV stakeholders can bolster their liquidity to support go-forward strategies. Buyers, meanwhile, stand to position themselves for the future by acquiring top-notch equipment at auction. “The challenges and opportunities of today absolutely require a smart and efficient approach to your inventory of AV gear,” Holiday advised.