Good Partner or Bad Problem: It’s Up to the TV Manufacturers
One message was clear last month as CE manufacturers rolled out new policies they hope will close the open vein that continues to bleed revenue and profit from their dying TV businesses: Independent retailers will no longer work with vendors that do nothing to stabilize TV prices.
You can’t blame the retailers. Their anger and frustration has been building up for years as cut-rate online sales by e-tailers have gone unchecked, big-box chains received favorable pricing and incentives, and manufacturers have wasted millions of dollars marketing 3D technology that the public wasn’t ready for and that national retailers weren’t capable of demonstrating. Sony, Panasonic and Sharp ended their fiscal year with combined losses of about $17 billion dollars. Race-to-zero TV sales strategies greatly contributed to those losses.
To help staunch the bleeding, Sony and Samsung instituted unilateral pricing policies, while Panasonic and LG are preventing the sale of higher-end products through third-party online marketplaces, all in attempt to stabilize pricing and increase margins. The new policies are laudable, but they are self-serving. Retailers have been calling for such changes for years, but manufacturers have turned a deaf ear. Now, they don’t have a choice. They have to change.