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Why Apple and Google are Key to Driving TV Sales

2020 turned the global TV market on its head. Last month, Futuresource Consulting’s Tristan Veale presented to the SMPTE on this changing TV and media landscape. The first part of his presentation focused on the TV consumer electronics and accessories landscape, with data and expertise taken from Futuresource’s latest TV market report, written by analyst Juan Villegas Leyba. Here’s a taster of what he had to say.

Overall, global TV sales remain stable and will stay that way across the forecast period, with our figures showing growth of less than one percent CAGR between 2018 and 2024. This obscures the underlying turmoil as there has been a boost in sales across developed countries during the year, with consumers looking to improve the home viewing experience during increased periods of leisure time at home. In less developed countries, which were previously driving global growth, a decline in shipments has occurred due to households retaining disposable income during a time of economic uncertainty.

4K and the Race to the Bottom

As TVs have got larger, consumers have made the transition to 4K sets over the last four years, allowing vendors to command a premium price and build in more margin. However, this proved to be unsustainable. In 2018, manufacturers fought hard to gain market share and a price war began. Although the cost of panel production decreased due to economies of scale and technological advances, price competition pressed down hard, scavenging any profit potential and leading to manufacturers looking elsewhere to gain competitive advantage.

The Smart TV Dilemma

At the end of 2020 more than one billion smart TVs were installed worldwide, as we continue to move towards a world where consumers are more reliant on TV delivered over the internet. For vendors, having an installed base of TVs with built-in smart functionality is the new entertainment battleground. This is an arena currently being contested by LG with WebOS and Samsung with Tizen, as well as Android TV, which is being adopted by many brands at a low cost, high quality interface, with some degree of customisation and personalisation.

Yet the smart TV challenge lies in the balance between innovation and upgrade. There are a huge number of video services that all require app development. They also need updating and upgrading when necessary to make them work effectively and securely. This can be expensive for a manufacturer, particularly when it’s done on legacy models as well as new TVs. If older models are no longer supported, it will save on costs, but can cause consumer backlash. Additionally, if regular upgrades are carried out on legacy TVs, there is little incentive for an owner to upgrade, which reduces manufacturer profit. It is a challenging situation that needs to be handled carefully.

The smart TV dilemma has also opened up the market for media streamers like Google Chromecast, Amazon Firestick and Apple TV box, all of which are acting as content aggregators to improve the user experience, by simplifying how consumers access content from multiple subscription services. These devices are inexpensive, work effectively, update on a consistent basis, can have differing services to smart TV, and prolong the lifetime of a TV. These reasons, amongst others, support Futuresource’s expectation that the installed base of media streamers will increase on a global scale to nearly 300 million by 2024.

Furthermore, the key companies selling media streaming devices are also selling access to an entertainment ecosystem, which aggregates content services, takes payment for media content, and integrates effectively with smart home technology. These platforms, including the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon, have a significant impact on how today’s consumer communicates, shops and enjoys leisure time. A TV is therefore no longer a silo’d entertainment device and must at least work with these operating systems. The seamless ability to connect with the operating system of choice for a consumer is fast becoming an important reason to choose one brand of TV or accessory over another, representing the next frontier of competition.

To find out more about the latest Media Streaming Report and TV Market Report we have available, please contact 

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Tristan Veale

About the author

Tristan Veale

Throughout Tristan’s career he has provided thought leading research and insights on the consumption of Motion Pictures, Film and TV series. Now positioned as a leading analyst within the TV and Video content research team at Futuresource Consulting, Tristan informs content creators, distributors and CE manufacturers on the shifting and fragmenting media landscape, helping Futuresource’s clients stay up to date in terms of what consumers want to watch, where they want to watch it, and on which devices.

Futuresource SMPTE CE Hardware Presentation

As part of his presentation to the SMPTE on the changing TV and media landscape, Tristan Veale discussed the Smart TV dilemma, the transition to 4K and the future of aggregated content services. View the presentation that was discussed here, covering some key stats from the TV industry.

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