Sony Corp. on Wednesday unveiled its Bravia brand of liquid crystal display televisions with high hopes the new line will be able to turn around its ailing TV-set business.
“We will make the first step toward full revival of Sony TVs with the launch of the new brand,” Katsumi Ihara, Sony’s executive deputy president, told a news conference in Tokyo.
The company will begin a nationwide rollout of the six regular LCD TVs and two LCD projection models under the Bravia name next month.
It aims to secure at least a 30 percent share of the market for LCD TVs 33 inches and larger during the important yearend season.
The high-end 46-inch LCD TV is likely to be priced at about 650,000 yen, according to Sony officials.
The company said most of its flat-screen TVs worldwide will bear the Bravia name, while the Wega brand will be for conventional cathode-ray tube TVs.
By separating the new flat-screen TVs from the well-known Wega brand, the company is hoping to make a fresh start in the TV-set market.
Sony’s television-set business has come to symbolize what has gone wrong with the company, which has not been keeping up with its rivals in riding the digital wave.
For the three months ended in June, the firm posted an operating loss of 15.3 billion yen, from an operating profit of 9.8 billion yen a year earlier, after losses by its TV-set business widened nearly four-fold year-on-year to 39.2 billion yen.
The firm’s results are in stark contrast with archrival Matsushita Electronic Industrial Co., which has been enjoying robust demand for its plasma display panel TVs and is aggressively investing in production lines.
Analysts have said Sony has been slow to catch on to the rapidly growing flat-screen TV trend, resting on its laurels in the CRT-TV business.
Because it has been slow to change over to LCD TVs, Sony has had to buy such essential components as LCD panels from its rivals.
During Wednesday’s news conference, Ihara said the company has finally started producing the key components in-house, referring to an LCD panel-making joint venture between Sony and Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea.
“From now, we can use cost-competitive panels,” Ihara said.
However, in a fiercely competitive market, which has had several new entries, Sony faces an uphill battle to turn around its TV-set business.
Ihara said the company will make an effort to bring the TV unit back into profit during the second half of next year.
Industry watchers, meanwhile, are waiting for Sony’s corporate strategy meeting Sept. 22, when CEO Howard Stringer is expected to announce sweeping restructuring plans for the group.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.