Michael Zoeller, European marketing director of Samsung Televisions, talks about Samsung’s business strategies during a briefing session before the opening of the IFA Global Press Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Sunday.
By Kim Yoo-chul
DUBROVNIK, Croatia ― an ultra luxurious 55 inch flat-screen TV using advanced organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology will make its debut at the world’s biggest technology trade show in Europe in August, said a senior Samsung Electronics executive.
The IFA will take place in Berlin from August 31st to September 5th.
``Samsung is going to unveil its latest OLED TV with an entirely new sleek design concept. That means an improved-design OLED TV is to be exhibited at this year’s IFA show,’’ Michael Zoeller, European marketing director of Samsung Televisions, told reporters Sunday at an IFA global press conference.
The Samsung OLED TV will be launched globally in the second half of this year, according to the Samsung executive but otherwise he was tight-lipped on details saying half-jokingly, ``Don’t ask me anything about it.’’
Samsung has confirmed the plan to launch a premium range of televisions.
Song Cheol-gyu, a spokesman for Samsung in Seoul, said the company is ``very near’’ to start sales of large screen OLED TVs and mentioned the IFA show would be the ideal venue.
The first OLED TV with incredibly narrow bezels, a super-slim depth panel and the vivid colors and great contrast ratio, was demonstrated at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), North America’s annual biggest technology exhibition, in January.
The world’s No. 2 TV maker LG Electronics is also planning to exhibit its 55-inch OLED TV at the IFA, foreshadowing intense competition between the two cross-city rivals for first-mover advantage in the nascent but promising sector.
Compared to the current LCD and plasma TVs, OLED sets are brighter and thinner without a bulky backlight.
Amid stagnating growth in the global TV industry, major firms are busy shifting their focus to OLED as the next cash generator.
Zoeller said Samsung is expanding its market share in Europe thanks to on-time releases and brisk sales of its advanced Web-connected TVs like the ES8000.
Samsung said its Web-connected TVs will have double their market penetration this year. ``Smart is the king,’’ Zoeller said.
``Sixty percent of the estimated 60 million TVs sold this year in Europe are expected to include some degrees of smart TV functionality,’’ the Samsung executive said.
He added that global technology fields are seeing a rise in smart devices, making it possible to unite and share content via smartphones, tablets and even fridges.
With OLED TVs, Samsung has been aggressively promoting Web-connected TVs, directly in competition with Sony’s Google TV.
In contrast to Samsung’s confidence in OLED- and Internet-enabled televisions, Zoeller was cautious about the outlook for 3D sets.
``Out of our 60 million TV sales target this year in Europe, about 80 percent will be LED-backlit LCD TVs, while 3D will be closer to 30 percent,’’ he said.
Samsung kick started the global 3D TV industry by initially pushing its battery-powered glasses but LG’s cheaper film-based technology has recently raised the stakes.
Samsung’s glasses and specially-modified displays keep prices are high, pushing consumers to look for cheaper alternatives.
Zoeller remains bullish for Samsung’s TV business in Europe.
``We are clearly leading the market and we are positive about widening the market gap further this year as well. Last year the Samsung ES8000 and ES7000 models were tremendously successful,’’ he said.