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Super Bowl Not Expected To Break TV Sales Records

2/07/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — Although sometimes anticipated as a
key opportunity to sell big-screen and step-up television
sets, this year’s Super Bowl XLV was used by
manufacturers and retailers primarily as a release valve
to off-load built-up inventory from the just-past holiday
selling season.

Due to a still-tough economy, the failure of a topmarket
team to reach the championship, and the lag
following the all-out push to get consumers to upgrade
for the digital television transition in late 2009 and early
2010, the excitement level at retail wasn’t above and
beyond previous years, according to one display analyst
who spoke with TWICE just before Super Bowl
weekend.

“Seems like it’s business as usual,” said Tamaryn
Pratt, Quixel Research principal. “Super Bowl promotions
have traditionally been an opportunity for manufacturers
and retailers to move through surplus inventory
and get ready for the February/March reset. Don’t
get me wrong — they all plan for a little lift, but it is also
a nice safety valve.”

Pratt said to expect strong first-quarter sales again
this year “because we’ve trained consumers for post
holiday sales as much as Black Friday,” she said.

For the most part, set manufacturers left the promoting
up to the individual retailers during the week,
although a few companies ran scattered non-Super
Bowl-specific price promotions on select TVs at the
same time.

Sony, for example, offered several TV bargains during
the period through its Sony Style retail operations.
The Bravia 46-inch HX800-series 3D HDTV was offered
for $1,499, $1,000 off the regular price; the Bravia
46-inch EX400-series model was offered at $649,
$135 off the regular price; and Sony offered a couple
of bundling deals, including an HD810-series Bravia
3D TV, PlayStation3 and 3D starter kit with transmitter,
glasses and extras for up to $600 savings.

For those looking for bargains, Pratt said consumers
had a few big-screen promos to fall back on, pointing
to larger-screen Samsung 7000x- and 9000x-series
models that are now less than half the launch price.

As for 3D, “it is still bundlemania — with 3D glasses,
BD players, and game consoles,” she said, adding that
she wasn’t expecting the Super Bowl, which is not be broadcast live in 3D, to give 3D models much of lift this year.

“I’m willing to bet the ranch that not many folks are
clamoring for a 3D upgrade to catch the [3D] flag football
game [broadcast on DirecTV’s n3D channel] that is being
served up on Sunday,” Pratt quipped before NFL game.

In 2010 3D unit sales for all technologies topped 1.1 million
units, according 2010 figures just released by Quixel.

“Most would call it a healthy start considering that there
were very few 3D models available until Q4, all of which
were premium priced, the economy was less than stellar,
and, if we’re honest, most of the content available was
for juveniles,” said Pratt. “Interesting and hitting a great
demographic were the recent Xgames, which broadcast
almost 20 hours of content in 3D TV. I’m very confident
that the 3D feature will find its way in 2011.”

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