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NEWS SECTIONS / TECHNOLOGY

How Weber Shandwick Tried To Nobble ChannelNews Over Sonos Leak

By David Richards | Wednesday | 08/03/2017

Serious questions are being asked of WPP PR agency, Weber Shandwick, who have openly admitted that they deliberately blocked ChannelNews and SmartHouse from a one on one briefing because we revealed back in February that US sound Company Sonos were about to release a new Soundbase speaker in Australia.

Senior executives have told 4Square Management, that back in February when we first revealed that a new Sonos product was about to be released in March 2017, that we had no right to reveal what they deemed "confidential information" which they claim was the subject of an NDA among resellers.

It appears that several resellers, who were being briefed by Sonos on the new device had signed None Disclosure Documents agreeing not to disclose information.


Weber Shandwick management told 4SQM that "we had no right" to write our original "leak" story.

"You did not have permission from Sonos" they said.

At no stage has Weber Shandwick approached 4Square Media or our staff about the Soundbase or asked us to sign any NDA documents.

Weber Shandwick management said that following the breaking of our story that they had "no faith" in us being able to conform to an NDA despite the fact that we are currently under NDA for several brands and products.

In the past we have also signed and respected NDA's for Weber Shandwick client Lenovo.

What they chose to do was to try and punish ChannelNews and SmartHouse, for breaking a story that took the gloss off their planned PR launch which took place yesterday.

Then to top this off senior account management at Weber Shandwick chose to issue a press release after other media had released their stories following the Sonos briefing.

4SM does not condone this type of blatant manipulation by a PR Company and their actions amount to media bullying and intimidation.

Nor are their actions ethical, as any media Company has the right to break a story particularly if they are not restricted by an NDA.

What we have not been able to ascertain is whether Sonos management were actually aware of the actions of Weber Shandwick and whether they endorsed their actions.


4Square Media is meeting with Sonos management tomorrow to discuss the actions of their PR Company.

Since yesterday launch the Sonos Playbase has already attracted criticism from leading US publications.

The Verge who got a one on one briefing from Sonos wrote 'I can't get over how ancient the Playbase is as a technology product - it's a $999 connected speaker that only supports 2.4GHz b/g WiFi because the SonosNet mesh protocol hasn't been updated for modern networks".

"It also lacks HDMI in favor of optical input and doesn't support surround codecs like DTS. It's basically a Playbar in a bigger box with more speakers".

They went on to say "I wonder why Sonos is still shipping the same basic capability set four years later. What's more, the Playbase really only makes sense if you have other Sonos products in your house - if you just want a better speaker in a giant box under your TV, it's actually hard to spend more than $500 on a highly-rated competing model from Yamaha or Sony".

"And if you want to use the Playbase as the heart of a 5.1 system, you'll end up spending a wild US$1,800: US$700 for the Playbase, US$700 for the Sonos Sub, and US$200 each for Play 1s as surround speakers."

"You won't get HDMI switching or modern surround codecs like DTS or Dolby Atmos for that money".

"You could just buy a highly-rated soundbar system with rear speakers and a subwoofer in the box and a $349 Sonos Connect to integrate your streaming music and come out anywhere from US$500 to $1000 ahead".

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