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Sony Stresses Its Strategies, Market Gains

Sony Electronics accentuated the positive, emphasizing market share gains across the board and in HDTV in particular, and revealing plans to broaden use of the BRAVIA brand name in the line, during its Executive Media Roundtable at the Sony Building, here.

Stan Glasgow, president/COO of Sony Electronics — who was joined by Randy Waynick, senior VP of its home products division, and Steve Haber, senior VP of its newly formed digital imaging and audio division (which will begin operations on April 1) — outlined Sony’s progress during the past year and hinted at new products that will be introduced during its line preview in Las Vegas later this week. (See coverage on pgs. 8, 40 and 57.)

Glasgow said that Sony’s U.S. consumer electronics business “continues to participate positively in the company’s growth” and cited the brand’s No. 1 position in units and dollars for calendar year 2006 in 11 different product categories, according to numbers from The NPD Group. The categories where Sony ranked No. 1 included home theater audio, home DVD, Blu-ray, camcorders and several others. To illustrate the success of the Sony brand, Glasgow cited examples, such as HD DVD camcorders where “Sony has a 60 percent market share.”

Waynick picked up on that theme in his remarks, saying that in home products, 2006 was “an exciting year for the industry and for Sony.” He quoted more NPD statistics for the year, saying Sony was “No. 1 in units and dollars in total TV and No. 1 in units and dollars for 27-inch and above LCD TVs.”

Much of the success Sony enjoyed in TV and LCD was due to the growth of the BRAVIA brand. In fact, Waynick noted, “BRAVIA has come to be known as a top-quality brand so [we have] decided to expand it into microdisplays, home audio systems and the BRAVIA Internet Video Link. We will transfer the best of BRAVIA’s design elements into other categories.”

In his remarks Haber stressed that the future is now for HD camcorders with Sony offering tape, DVD and hard-drive units now. “We expect HD to be the major part of the camcorder category in two years. You want your memories in HD? You can have that now, even on a hard-drive camcorder that can store 20 or 30 hours of video.”

Whether consumers use HD camcorders or Sony still cameras such as its Cybershot T100, the company will provide an HD output so “consumers can see their still memories in HD on a BRAVIA LCD screen, making it a picture frame for your home.” Haber said, again going back to the theme of BRAVIA become a major part of Sony’s strategy for 2007.

Glasgow noted that for seven years Sony has been the No. 1 brand in the Harris Poll in the United States, with the challenge being “to keep top brand share.” Sony will be changing its ad approach this year, calling it “a ‘silver bullet’ program that is clear and hard-hitting. We want our message to be positive.”

But the Sony president does want it focused since, “We have been fragmented [advertising] too many categories. We want to locate themes about Sony vs. 50 product campaigns. We want to use three or four major campaigns and a bunch of small ones.” Emphasis will be placed on HDTV, Blu-ray and digital imaging, he noted.