Sony boss Carl Rose claims that 83% of people who are shopping for a new flat panel TV have needs other than price. Speaking at the Get Ready for Digital TV conference in Sydney he said that consumers are confused and that retailers need to play a key role in educating consumers. He also said that consumers don’t necessarily want another set top box under their TV.
Rose who was backed up by David Ackery, the General Manager of Electrical at Harvey Norman, said that “Price becomes the default position when other information is not made clear.” Run by the Federal Government, the conference also heard from Rose that last year more than 700,000 old fashioned analogue CRT TV’s were still purchased in Australia however GFK is now saying that this amount has fallen significantly in 2009 as cheap 32″ flat panel TV’s take their place.
From both Rose and Ackery the message was simple, education, more education and solid training for sales staff.
Rose, who also did a good job of spruiking GFK data said that there was still a lot of opportunity for retailers and that the low penetration rates of digital-ready televisions means that there is still a lot of “upside” for CE retailers.
“No matter how simple it is to get the digital signal, large numbers of consumers will still have difficulty understanding the digital TV message,” said Ackery.
Ackery also said later that while the free to air TV stations battled it out for a stake in the digital TV market that Harvey Norman did not want to sell content for them or anyone else. “We are in the devices market and display will be a mobile phone, a notebook and a flat screen or projector for the home. This is what we will be selling”.
Rose said that retailers are still the most vital point in this process and that “Consumers go to retailer outlets several times throughout their purchase process,” said the Sony boss.
Ackery said “We are the squeezebox of the digital TV industry. “At the top we have marketers and vendors pushing information towards us. At the bottom we have consumers demanding information from us”.
In a dig at set top boxes such as TiVo and the set to be launched Freeview set top boxes, Rose said “Let’s be realistic about where the market is already at, we need to make sure the consumer is aware of the options: set top boxes are just the entry level into the domain”.
He also questioned whether consumers who are set to be bombarded by advertising for a Freeview box “really want a pile of set top boxes under their TV. We want to communicate to the market choice.”