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IFA Day 1: The Japanese are Moving On

What a difference a few years make! The first day of IFA press conferences, featured Sony and Panasonic. The tone is symptomatic of the industry, as it finally executes the ‘value’ part of its ‘volume to value’ strategy in flat panel TV.

Panasonic: back in the black!

Panasonic kicked off with an expansion of its energy efficiency and greener living theme from last year. There was no Tesla car on stage this year- instead news that Panasonic has a new factory up and running in Slovakia, making hybrid vehicle batteries for Volkswagen. There was a nice live demonstration of content throwing from camera to TV and then from the TV to a smartphone, showing that the company clearly ‘gets’ that usage is the differentiator…The conference ended with the launch of Panasonic white goods, viewable publicly for the first time.

This year again seems to be about trophy bigger and better products: Panasonic has a 145” 8k4k plasma panel and 103” auto-stereoscopic PDP for signage, while Sony is launching an 84” 4k2k TV. Looking at the Sony set, what is clear is that this is a real commercial product, with even a SCART socket on the back. With LGE having launched a similar size set last week in Korea, pricing (while not announced) would be around $25,000 at least – and probably more like €25,000 locally including sales taxes. 

Panasonic’s latest in ultra-large display technology

 

Sony’s 84” 4k2k TV, which looks like a production product, not a demonstrator.

What was clear about Sony was the more down-to-earth style of Kazuo Hirai. A journalist friend told me that he had an interview with him, something apparently not possible under previous leadership. I have never seen the word ‘turnaround’ in a Sony press conference before. 

It would appear that this new management has already killed a few sacred projects: there was no mention of OLED TV, and the crystal LED demonstrator was not visible. The new strategy is summed up as Games, Mobile and Digital Imaging.   

Sony appears to have decided to invest its money somewhere other than TV.

  • AndrewLiang

    Not so fast……

    1. Apr12 in the Corporate Strategy Meeeting
        http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/financial/fr/viewer/strategy/2012/
        Where the 3 core biz already claimed, and OLED and Crystal TVmentioned on P21

    2. Jun25 press release about co-work with Panasonic on OLED
        http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Press/201206/12-0625E/

    3. And the co-work was referenced again in Aug2 Quarterly IR conference

    Not likely they would change that in 1 mth……guess they are still working, but just quitely.

    Andrew

        

  • Adc Karoma

    SOONER THE BETTER IS ALL WE CAN SAY AND HOPE NOW. AFTER ALL THE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANTAGES THE JAPANESE BRANDS HAVE THE KOREANS SADLY ARE STILL DOMINATING WHITE GOODS MARKETS GLOBALLY. LETS HOPE NOW AT LEAST THE GIANTS WAKE UP AND WORK TO FLOAT BETTER IN MARKETS WITH THE FANTASTIC PRODUCTS RANGE THEY HAVE AND CAN ACTUALLY MARKET THEM BETTER SO PEOPLE KNOW YES PANASONIC DOES HAVE THIS TOO. SADLY THE JAPANESE ARE TERRIBLE IN MARKETING AS THE EMPLOYEES ARE MORE BUSY CREATING FUNDS FOR PROMOTION THAN ACTUAL SALES IN  MARKETS I GUESS.