TPV, which recently re-introduced Philips TVs in India, plans to open experience stores in eight big cities. It will also be launching Dolby Atmos soundbar and smart Bluetooth speakers next year in India.
Arun Menon, India business head for Philips TV and AV, in an exclusive conversation with EFY shed light on the company’s plans for the country. He spoke at length explaining the brands’ strategy for India and confirmed that Philips will be adding more dealers and retailers to its network.
TPV recently introduced new Philips TVs in India, what’s your strategy for the country? Do you see India as a different market than the rest of the world?
TPV has been a global licensee partner for Philips for more than a decade. Philips has already been a renowned name in the Indian market and thus, we see a huge potential, keeping in mind the brand’s legacy. India is a key focus market for TPV, and we are investing in building the eco-system here. We will strive to bring the global range of products to India, along with specially designed products specifically targeted towards Indian customers. We aim to be amongst the top 5 players by end of next year. Also, India is among the markets where there is an R&D centre. There are two in China and one in Belgium as well.
Currently some of the products are being assembled in India (Chennai) and we plan to eventually assemble the entire range here. In terms of pricing, we aim to remain competitive due to locally assembling the products. The entire range of products that is being launched in India is being sold globally.
For TVs, we’ll be actively operating both online and offline channels. Ecommerce will also play an important and strategic role in our growth. Marketing spends will largely focus on digital to begin with, we will additionally provide finance schemes, EMIs, etc. as well as do on-ground activations to give customers a chance to upgrade.
How are Philips TVs different from other brands?
Philips had already pioneered the immersive ambient light concept in the segment. TP Vision with Philips TV is among the three companies (the other two being LG and Toshiba) who have established Smart TV Alliance. It is also among the three companies worldwide (including Sony and Sharp) to receive the authorized license for Google Android TV, thus aiming at enhancing the Smart TV experience. Philips also has licenses from YouTube and Netflix for enabling 4k content which are only available on actual Android TV operating system. TP Vision had also developed Saphi Smart TV user interface for entry level models making the device user-friendly. Saphi will be introduced on all Philips 2018 Smart TVs using the Linux operating system.
TPV’s key focus lies in being an OBM (Original Brand Manufacturer). Thus, taking responsibility encompassing production and development, supply chain, delivery, after sales service and the marketing for Philips televisions
Are you planning to introduce more products in the Indian market?
There is a lot of work happening within audio and televisions road-map for the next 3 years.
TPV Technologies is a pioneer in audio and video category and we are eyeing the Indian market to launch the OLED+ range in the upcoming year. With the legacy that Philips has in the minds of Indian consumers and the unmatched quality of TPVs production, we are sure that this range too will be a huge success.
Apart from bringing the existing Philips TV European range to India, TPV plans to roll out future products in India as and when they are unveiled globally. Our focus would be to help the consumer to upgrade to a smart, larger screen size.
In addition to new range of TVs, TPV is set to launch new Philips audio products. There are models such as Dolby Atmos soundbar and smart Bluetooth speakers, these all are set to debut next.
What are your business goals for the current and upcoming fiscal year?
Philips is a strong player in terms of technology and consumer-centric innovation and offers a wide range of products. By 2020, TPV (India) aims to capture around 6 to 8 per cent of the TV market share, thus becoming one of the top five players in the Indian market.
Yes, we will be adding more direct dealers and retailers to our network. We currently have a strong retail presence of 35,000 stores across the country with more than 200 distributors.
Appliances and consumer electronics business depends a lot on its service network, what’s your strategy on the same? Would you focus on door-to-door service or service through brand centres?
At TPV Technology, we have a very strong service network with 200+ service centres across the country which we plan to double by the end of next year. Our key focus will be to drive consumer care through authorised service centres, ensuring quality of service for all our consumers.
What technologies do you think will lead the LED TV segment in India in the next five years?
The television viewing has come a long way since they first came in as black and white boxes that had a below average viewing experience. Brands are now focusing on the overall picture quality being improved through various measures. Improved contrasts and colour resolutions, all being moulded into smaller bezels and thinner casing.
Streaming devices such as Netflix and Amazon are proving to be tipping points of the “TV” morphing into something else entirely. The TV viewing experience is now just more than the average colour TV and is going beyond just being called the idiot box. Some key trends that are sure to make it big in the next few years include:
- The Ambilight Experience: Ambilight technology is sure to revolutionise one’s TV viewing experience completely. It allows you an immersive experience with a 3-sided Ambilight projecting picture colours on the wall behind your television screen, taking your TV experience to the next level. The Ambilight Technology is something that Philips has pioneered over the years and is continuing to make it more exciting and fun for the consumers.
- Micro Dimmingand HDR+: Better contrast and more accurate colour reproduction are two features to look out for in the future also. Philips has already pioneered these key masterpieces that ensure that the contrast and colour in the picture being displayed on screens is far sharper and more accurate than any average TV in the country.
- Increased Connectivity:The idea of connecting your phone to your TV was something that was unfathomable just a few years ago. Now, with technology getting better and innovative every second, connecting your TV to your other devises has become easier. You now have the access of viewing your photos, videos and even apps on the TV.
- Slimmer Compounds and Larger Screens: No longer do TVs just sit in your living room as large pieces of furniture that take up too much of your space and do nothing to make it look good. Big is the new way out, televisions are getting bigger and slimmer, they not only take your viewing experience to the next level but have become an important feature that must match your interiors.
- Voice interaction: With artificial intelligence taking a rise, voice interaction is the next major step in the TV world. Speakers are embedded in the remote control that allow you take control of your TV without the hassle of actually pressing buttons! Voice assistants are going to be a key feature that will take the whole thing to another level as TVs will not only let you use these voice assistants to search for and access content, but also interact with and control other compatible smart home devices, such as lighting and thermostats
- OLED Televisions: Perhaps one of the most interesting trends is the rise of OLED TVs. Philips OLED 803 is one of Philips’ first sets to offer HDR+ and had received more than 53 awards across all European media, for outstanding PQ performance. Philips OLED 903, the first product offered as part of the exclusive partnership with the world leading audio specialists Bowers & Wilkins, has been recognized as the best in class and had won more numerous awards
Smart TVs are the new buzz in the country. Do you think smart TVs will replace conventional TVs completely in the future?
Televisions these days are full of useful functionalities that include and support third party devices and APPs which makes life easier on the consumer. Eventually yes, with good broadband speeds being accessible to every consumer, the difference in pricing between Smart and non-smart TVs thinning out and with intuitive operating systems (SAPHI offered by Philips) coming into view, Smart TVs will take over a major share of the TV market.
Experience stores play a crucial role for an appliances and consumer electronics brand, do you plan to open one soon? Which cities will be the first to get one?
When it comes to TV & audio products, giving the customer an experience is of foremost importance and to cater to this need, we have 6 to 7 own brand stores called ‘Philips Arena’ which provides our customers the best in class experience across the product portfolio. We are also looking at scaling these up through the next fiscal in the top 8 cities to start with.
Where are you expecting major sales from – offline or online? Do you have a different strategy for both?
Both the channels are equally important for us and e-commerce will play an equally important and strategic role in our growth. For TVs we’ll be actively operating both online and offline channels. Marketing spends will largely focus on digital to begin with, we will additionally provide finance schemes, EMIs, etc., and also do on-ground activations to give customers a chance to upgrade
Do you see rural India as a potential market? How do you plan to reach to consumers in rural India?
Our focus is on developing the rural market with stronger trade relations and wider service networks. Tier II and III cities definitely have a lot of potential and buying power. We have an overall retail presence in across 35000+ stores with more than 200 distributors. Also, we currently have 200+ service centres and plan to more than double by end of next year. We will be doing a lot of on-ground activations and additionally provide finance schemes, EMI’s, etc. to give customers a chance to upgrade