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MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan

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#76 Carl_12

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:51 PM

I have never owned a Meade, but just today I explored their website after a long time. My advice if they wish to stay in business:

1. Streamline product line, it's way too confusing. Promote the best properly. 8" AFC should be selling like hot cakes.
2. Improve website, update it properly. Image gallery for instance has dead links to discontinued products.
3. Start a "Save Meade" campaign in the community, competitions for "Shot by Meade", survey for models to survive the cull, "My All Time Favourite Meade" nostalgia campaign, that sort of thing.

Once they're out of danger, focus on the 21st Century. Move on from the same old, same old and start getting adventerous. Nasmyth focus, Questar-type integration, mobile computing, internet. The opportunities are there to revitalise what is erroneously seen as a declining market. Of course it's declining when it's driven by nostalgia and not much else. I'm perpetually in the market for a scope, never buy anything because the parameters are so well known, everything is ultimately compromised *BLEEP* that you will surely want to replace soon enough. Present us with a new frontier and we'll start buying. How about adaptive optics of some sort?

I could go on...
 

#77 Rick Woods

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:14 AM

Once they're out of danger, focus on the 21st Century. Move on from the same old, same old and start getting adventerous.


A case could be made that "getting adventurous" is what got Meade into trouble. They were the first to come out with the ACF-type optics, and introduced the revolutionary RCX400 series. Trouble with the execution of these products got them in the hole. Of the two big SCT manufacturers, Meade appears to be the only one that is trying to move on.
Problem is, they keep dropping the ball somehow.
 

#78 jimb1001

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:08 AM

The shrinking low end market is hurting all the mass producers. Disposable income is way down in the US and if you have a few hundred to spend will you spend it on a relatively inexpensive scope that can be used just a few times a month or a video game console that can be used for hours every day?
Light pollution makes it harder to enjoy the inexpensive scopes. A $500 LS6 would likely be a good seller but clearly Meade couldn't make any money on it.
The rings of Saturn, Jupiter, the popular dsos have been eclipsed by Hubble images flooding the internet. That little bit of white fuzz in the eyepiece is disappointing to kids today after seeing a full screen image of the Pillars of Creation.
Photography, which holds the promise of reintroducing the "gee whiz" factor into our hobby, is still too expensive and complicated. While Meade and people like Rock Mallin deserve credit for making imaging more "turnkey" than ever before, its still too expensive and complicated for the casual hobbyist.
Meade is probably doing more to make the hobby accessible to more people than ever but the cost is still way north of $2000. No need to wonder why the hobby is dominated by people over 55.
There will be tougher times ahead for the manufacturers until an LS6/8 type product with a 6" video screen and real time imaging can be had for $500-$1k. Until then, a shrinking number of manufacturers will be fighting over a smaller base of affluent hobbyists.
 

#79 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

Jim has it spot on with some of the elements impacting this business. I talk with many kids, and with access to the Hubble (or other images), and all the movies out there, faint fuzzies just don't get the kids excited. Most still get excited with Jupiter and Saturn because you really can see the good stuff live. Everything else now does not excite them.

And with competition with other activities, Astronomy has an even tougher job pulling them in.

Light pollution is definitely a problem - there is not much to see with the naked eye in most urban areas to begin with.

I am getting folks excited with the astrophotography and soon adventures with the MallinCam, but this is out of the price range of most folks. They are more than happy to just tag along with me vs buying something.

It is a tough and very competitive market. Meade (and others) will need to get more creative. Carl and others have some very good ideas.

It is a scary thought that at some of the astro events I go to I am still a young one - at 50!

-- Andrew
 

#80 vomit

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:32 PM

The shrinking low end market is hurting all the mass producers. Disposable income is way down in the US and if you have a few hundred to spend will you spend it on a relatively inexpensive scope that can be used just a few times a month or a video game console that can be used for hours every day?
Light pollution makes it harder to enjoy the inexpensive scopes. A $500 LS6 would likely be a good seller but clearly Meade couldn't make any money on it.
The rings of Saturn, Jupiter, the popular dsos have been eclipsed by Hubble images flooding the internet. That little bit of white fuzz in the eyepiece is disappointing to kids today after seeing a full screen image of the Pillars of Creation.
Photography, which holds the promise of reintroducing the "gee whiz" factor into our hobby, is still too expensive and complicated. While Meade and people like Rock Mallin deserve credit for making imaging more "turnkey" than ever before, its still too expensive and complicated for the casual hobbyist.
Meade is probably doing more to make the hobby accessible to more people than ever but the cost is still way north of $2000. No need to wonder why the hobby is dominated by people over 55.
There will be tougher times ahead for the manufacturers until an LS6/8 type product with a 6" video screen and real time imaging can be had for $500-$1k. Until then, a shrinking number of manufacturers will be fighting over a smaller base of affluent hobbyists.


Well spoken words of wisdom. Amateur astronomy is in a tough spot. I really think kids nowadays are so desensitized, to BIG SCREENS, 3D, High-Def, Instant gratification, that seeing Saturn's rings "live" seems like such a letdown. It's a shame. I can still remember the 1st time, I spotted Saturn's rings in my junky "trash scope"---circa 1981---the excitement, and feeling of awe! I wish I could get my kids to feel that way. Uphill battle for sure.
 

#81 Matthew Ota

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:15 PM

The reason most amateur astronomers are over 50 is that we grew up at the dawn of the Space Age. At a young impressionable age we were exposed to a future in space that fell way short of our expectations. So we settled of unmanned exploration of the planets instead of going there ourselves.

Meade, Celestron and the other companies that have developed high-tech telescopes have done a great job engineering them, but a poor job in selling and promoting them.

My only suggestion is that they diversify their product lines outside of the small amateur telescope market just to stay afloat.
 

#82 Stacy

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:03 PM

They shipped the LX90 part (control board) I ordered last week.
 

#83 jonbosley

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:10 PM

Looking over their report the other day, it seems like last year Meade converted their cash into a huge inventory, which they have not been able to sell (probably not the wisest thing for them to have done). It now all relies on how fast they can sell to keep their cash flow going. Historically a huge chunk of change came from the low end scopes in the big retailers over the Xmas period. If they have lost those contracts that is a massive blow and without doubt they will have to revisit their business model. They have always had a innovative R&D department which is a great strength for them. This is a difficult time for many companies. Whatever comes out the tunnel it will be a very different Meade then went into it.

Jon
 

#84 LivingNDixie

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:12 PM

Something to think about. Most young people (20s and 30s) are building careers and having families. Having children makes it hard to get out a lot to observe. Average age is important but it needs to be also collaborated with how long someone has been a telescope user. Getting people in their late 30s or 40s is okay as long as Astronomy as a hobby is growing and gaining new people.
 

#85 jwdefoor

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:43 PM

I am a new member and confess I have not read all of the above comments. I am a retired finance/accounting executive.

Regarding Meade's "going concern" problem. If a company has a good product, typically new owners will come in -- wipe away the debt, replace management, etc. -- and continue production with minimal interuption. A company's value is all related to the value of its customer base.

I once owned one of the first LX200's. It spoke QUALITY all over. Later, I bought a ETX125 for my nephew -- he never could get it to work and gave it back. Opened up the DEC arm and the plastic posts were shattered and the gears were stripped, and couldn't find parts.

I now have a LX200GPS, but have been disillusioned to find out that two otherwise identical looking eyepieces -- one can be plastic and one metal? How can i ever know what exactly I am buying? I don't like surprises and neither do most of you!

IMO, what Meade failed to understand is how disappointment with cheap plastic telescopes frightens people away from their better models. And inconsistent quality cheapens the brand all together. Better to be excellent at a few things, than average at many.
 

#86 Matthew Ota

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:00 AM

At the least I hope that Meade survives along with Celestron and the other manufacturers.

It kind of reminds me on how Model Rocketry declined in the early 1980s when amateur rocketry took off. Now instead of three major manufacturers there is only one, Estes. Membership in the National Association of Rocketry, which was around 2000 when I was active from 1974 to 1984, dropped below 1000.
 

#87 Stacy

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 02:01 PM

They shipped the LX90 part (control board) I ordered last week.


Spoke too soon. They charged but did not actually ship the part. Said they will ship today. I guess we'll see...
 

#88 Odell

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:58 PM

Something to think about. Most young people (20s and 30s) are building careers and having families. Having children makes it hard to get out a lot to observe. Average age is important but it needs to be also collaborated with how long someone has been a telescope user. Getting people in their late 30s or 40s is okay as long as Astronomy as a hobby is growing and gaining new people.


A fascinating thread and this post caught my eye. I started my astronomical journey last May at the age of 59.Previous to that my last encounter with a scope was at the age of 12. Sports, then marriage, then career, and general life is not conducive to large optical expenditures as well as expenditures in time.

My thought is, there are presently around 10K people retiring everyday. Could it be the baby boomers may have a hand in the saving of Meade? Ok.....wishful thinking... :(
 

#89 SteveMushynsky

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 02:11 AM

...there are presently around 10K people retiring everyday

I am one of these, just now making my decisions on what to buy for the first time at age 61.
I find there is a remarkable lack of media outreach among telescope manufacturers and amateur astronomers. It seems to be a relatively closed world of enthusiasts talking to enthusiasts. There is outreach, but it seems to appeal to individuals a few at a time, not using the power of mass media.
 

#90 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 02:49 AM

Steve,

I don't know about the lack of outreach and communication. Outreach is extensive on many fronts.

-- For many Astronomy Clubs and Astronomers we take it upon ourselves to share at numerous planned and unplanned events. Our local club works with many schools in the area and shares the events through the news, facebook, webpages, school info outlets, etc. Just over a week ago I had 300+ elementary kids, their siblings, parents and relatives lined up to look at Jupiter. I am quite certain most Astronomy Clubs do much with their communities.

-- Similarly for the Annular eclipse and transit of Venus I had many strangers lined up at the scopes and the Laptop display to watch the events. Very few were astronomers. The total number of visitors exceeded 1000. Oh, and pictures from the event made the wire services world wide (my family was quite excited). I think many astronomers will attest to similar experiences.

-- I know Meade is trying to make a noble effort through social media and the web to promote a variety of astro events and news items with their limited staff and resources.

-- Astronomy and Sky & Telescope are keeping up with the times with digital media, and doing it well.

-- Most of us talk with local, regional and national media. However unless there is something amazing on the astro news front (like Asteroids hitting the Earth), then most info is relegated to Science Channel, Discovery, et. al. BTW, PANSTARRS is getting lots of coverage. Fox and CNN are certainly covering it.

Yes, I do talk with other astronomers to talk shop and share info, but my biggest joy is interacting and sharing with budding astronomers of any age, or people just curious and want to learn.

My take on some of the problems in this hobby:
-- Many folks see amazing images online, on tv and in the theater - real or special effects. This is tough to compete with ("why look in your scope when I can see the Hubble picts?"). Jupiter and Saturn REALLY move people, especially newbs (heck, me too!); faint fuzzies or splitting a faint double star? Not as thrilling for beginners.

-- Light pollution. Most people don't see the sky we saw long ago. I feel VERY BLESSED being in New Mexico now (I am from Michigan). Skies are amazing here, however most folks do not get this view today.

-- In the "Olden Days" as a kid, I loved what I could find in my Tasco 60mm. Today? The same views don't move most people.

-- Space race was big in our day. Now? The drive and interest is just not as big. And I work in the Space biz!

-- I have been in Astronomy and mostly active all my life. Most cannot do this due to cost, family and/or time constraints. Imagine a young couple trying to get into Astronomy and raise young kids? I raised four with ALL their activities. Let me tell you, it was a challenge mixing astronomy and all their interests.

-- Competition with other hobbies and interests. Video games for example provide instant gratification. You have do a little work with Astronomy (like setting up a small scope, or figuring out what the stars are - if you can see them!). I can give a list of activities, but it is a crowded market.

Their are other reasons for the leaning of this hobby, but I think this covers the basics. For Meade (and others in this business), the pie is getting smaller from the heady days of the 80s and 90s.

It is great you are joining this hobby. We all represent an opportunity to share what we know, learning experiences, growing pains and the gadgets we use. You can definitely help with the outreach.
 

#91 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 04:30 AM

...there are presently around 10K people retiring everyday

I am one of these, just now making my decisions on what to buy for the first time at age 61.
I find there is a remarkable lack of media outreach among telescope manufacturers and amateur astronomers. It seems to be a relatively closed world of enthusiasts talking to enthusiasts. There is outreach, but it seems to appeal to individuals a few at a time, not using the power of mass media.


It tough to reach an audience that is already jaded by massive special effects and instant gratification under light-polluted skies.

My wife and I volunteer up at the Onizuka VIS every Tuesday night for their nightly stargazing program and I usually go up for a couple of Saturdays as well around the New Moon. The VIS gets somewhere around 250,000 to 350,000 visitors a year and maybe 100,000 stay for the nightly stargazing tours. However since we are at least an hour from civilization in any direction, only those people who know we are there and go through the effort to visit us get to see the sky through our telescopes.

http://www.ifa.hawai...ng-program.html

If anyone is visiting the Big Island of Hawaii, consider dropping me a line well-before you get here and I will help you make sure you get the most astro-fix while on the island. I might be able to get you inside some of the observatories on the Summit as well.
 

#92 AntMan1

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:29 PM

Meade stock has risen sharply this week! 1.89 Keep going baby! Nice price to buy at if you like a little risk.

Are there going to be any further reports for 2012 or is this 10-Q on 14-Jan the final one?
 

#93 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:30 AM

I think there will be a few more reports - for 2013; they will turn this puppy around in the right direction.

My guess for the stock increase is because the LX850 is shipping. It seems to be popping up everywhere suddenly, and the word so far seems to be good (I will know soon myself; stay tuned!). First light images are very good for early use. With all the LX850's coming out, this means cash flow. This will pay down the one outrageous debt, and provide capital to release the LX600 and provide more cash flow. This should also force the two vendors to pay the $600k (each I think) owed to Meade.

All of this adds to the stock price jumping up. I should buy $20k in stock, watch it double, cash out and pay for my telescope and pocket the rest.
 

#94 ken svp120

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 02:09 PM

Meade stock has risen sharply this week! 1.89 Keep going baby! Nice price to buy at if you like a little risk.

Are there going to be any further reports for 2012 or is this 10-Q on 14-Jan the final one?


The 10Q is filed quarterly with the SEC and then the annual report...the 10K...is filed once a year - Meade's 10K should be filed at the end of May. These quarterly and annual reports will continue to be filed as long as the company remains public.
 

#95 bicparker

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 07:05 AM

I would not read too much into Meade's stock price anytime soon. Stock price fluctuations for a small cap company like Meade with little float really don't mean anything most of the time. This is such a low volume stock with very little of its stock actively trading most of the time. Single transactions such as the recent 63K share stock acquisition can really bump up such a stock temporarily but have little to do with its company performance or long term values. Their market cap of $2.33 million versus their book of $7.5 million makes their stock price changes have even less meaning.

The only thing really important here with respect to Meade is their current performance. Their long term performance will only be an interesting projection until they can get their period performances in order.
 

#96 ken svp120

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 02:06 PM

Not sure what this might mean, but it looks like, if I'm reading this correctly, someone just purchased a tad over 6% of Meade...anyone more market savvy than I care to speculate?

http://www.sec.gov/A...02/sc_13g_4.htm
 

#97 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 07:27 PM

If I read this carefully it looks like Chinese Nationals are preparing to purchase Meade. Meade offers significant IP.

I really hope Meade is not purchased by a Chinese firm. I guess on the one hand it is nice to have our hobby subsidized by the Chinese government. On the flip side, shouldn't some of this IP and control be managed in North America?

Yes, I know Celestron is now a Chinese firm. Many of our optics are made in China. Still, seeing both these companies leave the U.S.? Horrible.

It is a smart play by the Chinese government (call it was it is).

I will say this, if I had the funds I would personally purchase Meade. I can put a down payment down, but not enough to purchase outright.
 

#98 gmartin02

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 05:18 AM

Yes, I know Celestron is now a Chinese firm. Many of our optics are made in China. Still, seeing both these companies leave the U.S.? Horrible.

Although Celestron is a subsidiary of a Chinese company, they have not completely "left the U.S."

Celestron corporate offices are still in Torrance, California, and the product engineering and design are still done in Torrance, and manufacturing is still controlled from Torrance (although all the parts are manufactured overseas).

Joe Lupica is still the CEO, and Alan Hale is still the Chairman Emeritus - these guys (along with Richard Hedrick who now runs PlaneWave Instruments) bought Celestron back in 2002 from Tasco and turned it around (before Celestron was acquired by Synta in 2005)
 

#99 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 01:11 PM

Gmartin - yes I do understand those facts, and yes we are in a world market.

On the flip side it is a tad bothersome to see IP developed in the U.S. purchased for a very low price from offshore firms. And the reality is both Celestron and Meade would be Chinese firms, even though they have offices in the U.S.

If I had the time, I personally would raise the balance of the capital and purchase Meade. And if projects go as planned I would just buy it out right down the road, however I think it would be purchased by someone else or firm by then.
 

#100 bicparker

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:12 AM

Meade needs the cash in a big way. They have a a very hot line of credit that needs to be paid off.
 






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