EXCLUSIVE: Pioneer Electronics will officially announce on March 7th that they have cut a deal with Sharp and will start selling Pioneer branded LCD TVs by the end of the year.
Among the LCD TV models to be rolled out will be a 42″ panel which will replace the Pioneer 42″ plasma panel that the company announced this week would be discontinued. The move is also good news for Sharp who are also set to manufacture Bravia LCD TVs for Sony. The announcement is set to be made in Japan on March 7th to coincide with the company’s 4th quarter 2008 financial results which are not expected to be good.
During the past two quarters and despite the plasma market growing by 62% Pioneer’s share has declined by 39% according to DisplaySearch. The move into LCD TV will allow the company to trade off their brand which is well regarded in the consumer electronics market.
Under the new arrangement Pioneer will sell a range of LCD TVs up to and including 50″. They will also sell a 50″ and 60″ plasma and next year an 80″ plasma TV which insiders say will be manufactured by Panasonic.
A senior Pioneer executive in Japan told SmartHouse today that without the LCD TV deal Pioneer would not have survived in the flat panel TV market. “The arrangement with Sharp will allow us to offer plasma at the high end and LCD, while also allowing us to compete in the popular sized LCD TV market where we were unable to compete in the past with plasma due to manufacturing problems and cost of development”.
They addeed: “By outsourcing production with Panasonic, Sharp and Hitachi we can leverage our Pioneer retail relationships into the LCD TV market while also offering consumer the choice of Pioneer brand LCD or plasma TVs. We are also able to deliver a new generation of home theatre kits for use with the new panels”.
Pioneer Australia has refused to comment on the move however it is believed that they could have Pioneer branded LCD TV stock by November with retailers selling it by December 2008.
The news which is set to be a saviour for the company comes as they struggle to compete in the plasma market. Also hurting the company was the roll out of a new “Kuro” advertising campaign that failed to drive consumers into stores. While competitors like Panasonic grew their share of the plasma market by 48%, LG by 113% Samsung by 95% Pioneer, despite massive advertising declined by 39%.
Greater availability of 1080p resolution panels, which maintained an 11% share of all shipments and grew 46% on quarter and over 1,300% on year, 42-inch 1080p PDP shipments exceeded 50-inch PDP shipments for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2007.
PDP pricing was better than LCD, with 42-inch HD PDP panels 20% less than comparable LCDs. PDP pricing is also falling faster on quarter than comparable LCD panel sizes.
32-inch PDPs are selling well in developing regions and 32-inch PDP’s share is more than doubling to nearly 11% of PDP shipments.
“Despite the very strong unit growth, revenues were only slightly higher, rising just 32% quarter and 3% on year in the fourth quarter of 2007 to US$1.9 billion as ASP (average selling price) declines impacted revenues growth potential. In fact, blended average selling prices fell 36% on year for the second quarter in a row. This was the third straight quarter of more than 30% price declines as supply continues to exceed demand and as a greater share of lower-priced 32-inch panels drove blended prices down,” noted Paul Gagnon, DisplaySearch Director of North America TV Research.
By supplier, Matsushita (which changes its name to Panasonic officially on October 1, 2008) remained the top supplier. Its share grew from 33% to 37%, with the strongest share growth coming from HD resolution panels. The share of 1080p panels rose to nearly 80% in the fourth quarter from 77% in the third quarter of 2007. LG Electronics overtook Samsung SDI for the second position with a one point share gain to 28% as Samsung SDI slipped from 29% to 25%.
LGE’s 32-inch PDP introduction has proven to be a strong volume booster, contributing to more than a third of the company’s share and becoming the second most popular size. Though Samsung SDI slipped to the third position overall, it continued to lead the 50-inch PDP segment and was the second at 1080p The company had the second strongest on year growth behind LGE.