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Uchiyama Takes Charge Of Toshiba’s Sales & Marketing Direction

Longtime Toshiba America Consumer Products veteran Yoshi Uchiyama recently attended CEDIA Expo here in his new role overseeing sales and marketing efforts for both the TV and digital A/V (DAV) businesses.

He previously served as the senior VP of the DAV marketing and planning group, and in the past 30 years has held positions in manufacturing in Japan, before coming to TACP in 1990 as manager, TV Business Planning.

Along the way, he served in VP roles in product planning and strategic business development, and helped to develop Toshiba’s strategy for the high-end Cinema Series for TV.

Under Uchiyama’s direction, leadership of both TV and DAV marketing were combined “to create stronger synergies for the brand,” he said.

He is also responsible for sales and corporate communications, allowing him “to integrate every aspect of business from product planning, marketing, sales coordination and advertising into one clear direction.”

The following is a Q&A interview with Uchiyama immediately prior to the recent CEDIA Expo.

TWICE:What does TACP see as being the most important products now for its future growth?

Uchiyama: TACP is committed to delivering innovative products that enhance consumers’ experience and fit their needs in every room of the house. We will continue to focus on high-definition televisions with improved picture quality and Blu-ray players to deliver HD content to our consumers. We will also continue to explore web enabled products for future growth.

TWICE:Why did the company decide to add Blu-ray Disc players at this time and what long-range roadmap might the company have in mind to develop Toshiba’s position in this market?

Uchiyama: We decided to add Blu-ray Disc players at this time because we believe consumers demand improved HD sources that will enhance their TV experience. We are also expecting a bigger market growth and increase in demand towards 2010. Regarding bundling, we will continue to explore the options going into the holiday season.

TWICE:How has Toshiba been able to build its presence/share in the LCD TV market this year, and how will it look to evolve and build its market share/presence next year and beyond?

Uchiyama: We believe our Cinema-series line offers the highest quality and feature set available. In June, we launched our flagship LED TV series which offers consumers stunning picture quality. We have a very broad lineup that includes both 1080p and 720p, so consumers can enjoy the home theater experience that best matches their needs. For example, this year we also brought 1080p technology into smaller screen sizes. We are also the leader in LCD TV/DVD combo units.

As consumers are purchasing secondary televisions for their homes such as a bedroom or even for a college dorm room, they want units that can also save space. Toshiba is the ideal solution for them with our strong LCD/DVD combo lineup. In July, we announced Stainless Style, which is ideally suited for the kitchen. Toshiba offers products to meet every need in the household and we will continue to capitalize on this strength.

TWICE:At CES you discussed Toshiba’s IPTV technology and partnership plans for source devices. What is the current status of that, and how far do you see that evolving across the DAV and TV lines?

Uchiyama: This is still under development in order to ensure consumer satisfaction and to optimize their experience. We have not disclosed an exact shipping date.

TWICE:Earlier, Toshiba executives had suggested that the future of HD video delivery would migrate from disc-based devices to digitally delivered methods and services. Is this still where you see the market headed, or will Blu-ray now have a more permanent role in the way U.S. consumers rent or buy HD movie content?

Uchiyama: Consumers continue to enjoy their home-theater experience. Blu-ray is an ideal solution for this. We anticipate growth in this category as consumers demand more content. We do recognize the trend of digital delivery and continue to monitor this carefully so we offer products that meet the needs of our consumers.

TWICE:What’s Toshiba’s strategy for home-based 3-D HDTV systems in the U.S.?

Uchiyama: We continue to evaluate 3-D technology. We will align our strategies once more content becomes available, consumer demand increases and a format is decided upon. Until then, we do not have any details to share.

TWICE:Will Toshiba’s distribution strategy for retail change in any significant way in the near future?

Uchiyama: There will be no change in our distribution strategy.

TWICE:What message would you like to convey to the dealers about Toshiba’s new direction?

Uchiyama: We will continue to reinforce and strengthen our relationships with our existing dealers, beyond the sales of our products to include the branding, merchandising and advertising and other promotional efforts. Our dealers are an integral part of our business.