October 8, 2013
Time Warner Cable is adding programming, including Food Network and HGTV, to the channels available on its on-the-go viewing app to help it keep pay TV subscribers. Additionally, the cable operator says it will add the DIY Network, the Travel Channel and the Cooking Channel to its TWC TV app. That brings the channels available to watch on the mobile app to 12 nationwide. The deal could help Time Warner Cable Inc. keep its customers as it adds more features. And content provider Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. might benefit if more viewers helps boost its ad revenue. The cable operator has said its customers used the app nearly 5 million times in June, double the number a year ago. Associated Press
How old is your television set? Do you plan to replace it with a new one anytime soon? Or do you even own a TV? Questions like these come up after the latest report from research firm IHS, released on Monday, predicted that world-wide shipments of flat-panel TVs will likely fall for the second straight year this year, following two consecutive months of on-year shipment declines in June and July. Shipments in July fell 6.3% from a year earlier to 14.88 million units. Just a few years ago, two straight years of decline in TV sales would have been "an unthinkable prospect," said IHS analyst Jusy Hong.
There are several possible factors behind weakening TV demand. In mature markets such as the U.S. and Europe, consumers are not replacing the TVs they already own, and more of their spending on electronic devices is going into mobile gadgets such as smartphones and tablets. Even in emerging markets where everyone doesn't own a TV, demand isn't as robust as expected, said Nicolas Baratte, head of Asia-Pacific technology research for CLSA. As consumers in both developed and emerging markets spend more time on their smartphones and tablets, mobile gadgets and online content are replacing some of the roles TVs used to play-entertainment and information. "Many consumers don't see why they need to replace their TVs that are a few years old," Mr. Baratte said. Some consumers don't see the need to own TVs in the first place, he added.
Meanwhile, TV makers are struggling to come up with features that are compelling enough to persuade consumers to buy new models. In 2010 and 2011, many electronics makers focused on three-dimensional TVs as a big marketing push, but 3-D didn't provide the kind of shot in the arm that the industry had been hoping for. South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest TV maker, and runner-up LG Electronics Inc. have been trying to create a new market for high-end TVs using organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, screen technology. Samsung already uses OLED displays in its Galaxy smartphones, but making large-size TVs with OLED screens is still difficult and uneconomic, according to Bernstein analyst Alberto Moel.
There have also been many rumors about Apple Inc.'s possible plans to produce a TV. In December last year, people familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal that Apple was working with component suppliers in Asia to test several designs for TV sets, even though it was unclear at the time whether and when Apple might commercialize the new TV. In the absence of game-changing innovations, for now, TV makers cannot avoid cutthroat price competition. Chinese TV makers offering inexpensive models are increasing their presence in the global TV market, according to the IHS report. The combined market share of six major Chinese brands - Changhong, Haier, Hisense, Konka, Skyworth and TCL - rose to 20.4% in July from 15.5% in June, the report says. "Given the diminution in variety, the TV market has turned into a game of chicken especially on pricing-an unfavorable circumstance for TV makers," IHS said, referring to a situation where all the players in the market are locked in a self-destructive race to offer the lowest possible price. Wall Street Journal
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