Neeraj Bahl
Associate Director – Business Group Head, Consumer Electronics,
Panasonic India

Challenges And Opportunities For The TV Industry

The Indian television industry is undergoing a major shift. The industry like televisions has a large customer base. The pace of technological change is accelerating so quickly that finding the right balance between addressing today’s daily operational challenges and planning for the next big thing can be a struggle. From luxury to necessity, today television has become a part of everyday life, just like the mobile phone.

TV technology has come a long way in the past half century and, it will become bigger and bigger in the coming years. Flat panel display televisions, which have almost completely replaced CRT televisions, started gaining momentum in early 2000s in India. As society moves to become more mobile in every sense, televisions have adapted to this trend in a multitude of ways.

The key trends noted to be bringing the change are the spending patterns of the Indian masses on entertainment and the change in the lifestyle of the consumers. Technological innovations like online distribution channels, web-stores, and multi and mega plexes are complementing the on-going revolution and the growth of the sector. The low cost of production and high revenues ensure a good return on investment for the Indian television industry. The growing middle class with higher disposable income has become the strength of the media and entertainment Industry.

Television has moved way beyond its years of electro-mechanical rotating mirror-drum scanners and cathode ray tubes (CRT). With multiple transformations since then, resolution has been the main playground for improvement over the years and we have moved now from HD to 4K and 8K. The ultra-high-definition TVs have become mainstream. These TVs have the potential to boost the difference between the darkest and brightest images a TV can produce, hence higher quality pictures. The 8K ultra HD is exactly 16 times the resolution of full HD.

Growing technological advancements in the television market have resulted in increased R&D spending among major market players which are coming up with new technologies such as curved panel display, OLEDs, and 3D televisions in the market. Moreover, a major consumer preference shift is being witnessed, within tier-II and tier-III cities, toward flat panel televisions from CRTs. High dynamic range (HDR) TV sets are an additional trigger as they will soon be commonplace in the global UHD TV market.

On the other hand, LED TV manufacturers have started to re-think their business as the revenue is now dispersed across many more opportunities. As LED displays are flat panel displays, the brightness allows them to be used outdoors where they are visible in the sun for store signs and billboards, and in recent years they have also become commonly used in destination signs on public transport vehicles, as well as variable-message signs on highways.

From the manufacturers’ perspective, although the TV market has grown with the online forums but there have been other challenges to cater to, which brings further worry. The growing number of manufacturers have incurred heavy losses in the market. Additionally, LEDs still are under immense pressure to further lower prices. Even though manufacturers in the LED industry are being pressured to lower prices in the short term, in the long run there will be limited room for further LED price cuts. This can be explained by the growing number of manufacturers withdrawing from the market in the near future, as LED prices are close to manufacturing costs and reduce companies’ profitability.

This year is expected to be the one, when OLED, UHD, and smart TVs drive the market. The rapid advancement in television technology is indicative of an increased desire for engagement, particularly immersive viewing experiences. The improvements have created a platform that allows consumers to connect socially and ultimately bring people together via technology. Ultimately, we see the future of television as a carefully crafted visual experience that combines great content with equally compelling social and gamification techniques and technologies tailored to a viewer’s preferences.

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