A cashed up Samsung, is set to move into the content market, in a move that could rattle both Sony with their Playstation Network and Apple, who have their highly popular application store as well as iTunes business. In Australia Samsung is close to signing final contracts with content providers according to senior management in the Company.

 The local content will be delivered to a new generation of Samsung TV’s, mobile phones and next year a new media centre which will be shown for the first time at the 2010 CES show in Las Vegas.

While Sony brags about their movie and music business, Samsung who last week wined and dined Rupert Murdoch at their Korean headquarters is quietly cutting global content deals for movies, music and application content for a host of Samsung devices.

“Our number one goal is to increase the value of our devices by having software, services and content available for them,” said Lee Ho-soo, executive vice president of Samsung’s Media Solutions Centre, a business unit created in July 2008 to coordinate software and content primarily for cellphones.

In 2010 the content battle is set to get vicious with Sony set to launch a new Playstation network with content delivered to Bravia TV’s. Panasonic is also working with organisations like Paramount and Disney as well as TV broadcasters like the BBC to deliver widget based content to their new range of IP enabled plasma TV’s and Blu ray players. 

While Sony wallows in losses with more tipped in coming weeks, Samsung Electronics is highly profitable. The turnaround in the Company’s fortunes helped push its market capitalisation past Intel for the first time this week.
One area where Samsung is determined to deliver content is in the mobile phone market where Apple’s iPhone has led the way in carving out market share by being able to easily deliver applications, video and music downloads for a very low cost.

According to Mark Leathan Marketing Manager of Samsung’s consumer electronics division in Australia content will be an import part of their offering in 2010. He says that next year, most of Samsung’s TVs will be able to connect to the Internet and display widget-like programs that are now common on personal computers and mobile phones.

 While Samsung Australia will not admit it, it is tipped that they are set to launch new mobile phone content services in 2010. Sources have told ChannelNews that one key sticking point has been the attitude of carriers who do not want phone makers to deliver content. Instead they want to be the content aggregator and seller in Australia. Among the carriers making life difficult for the likes of Samsung is Telstra who yesterday launched Foxtel Live on the BigPond network.

 Earlier this year Samsung rolled out a mobile phone content store in the UK, mainly selling music to Samsung mobile users. And last month, Samsung launched an online application store for mobile phone users in the U.K, France and Italy.

The Web site initially offered about 3,000 applications; well below the 75,000 that Apple says are now available for its iPhone, but Samsung expects the number to grow rapidly. It has been holding workshops for software developers around the world to encourage programs for its products. Mr. Lee of Samsung said the company aims to provide similar online stores to customers in 30 countries next year including Australia.

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