TV biz drives Daum into deep trouble
By Cho Mu-hyun
Daum Communications faces a bumpy road ahead as its TV business is challenged by smart TVs released by Samsung and LG.
After suffering stalled growth in its desktop-based Internet services, it created Daum TV and launched its first television platform with the same name on April 28, in partnership with Kaon Media and Crucial Tech to try and improve its fortunes. Daum TV manufactures a set-top box that connects its Web based platform to any television while its partners provide content and remote controls.
However, Samsung and LG Electronics, the two major television manufacturers here are pushing the promotion and development of their latest televisions with Internet connectivity and a similar platform service.
Not only do they have the added advantage of controlling the production lines when it comes to hardware, they are also much wealthier. American technology giants Apple and Google have also moved into the television platform arena.
According to a Daum spokesman, the company shipped 10,000 set-top boxes as of June since they started sales in April. The service offers apps from firms such as E-mart, Auction Shisegae, Lotte and Gmarket. And he said more partnerships with distributors are on the way. “We have no target yet as the service has only just started.
“What we are focusing on are not shipments or revenue but optimizing the service for consumers. We are planning a vast upgrade to the platform and set-top box for next year.”
Shipments are vastly lacking when compared to the number of competitors, while available apps such as Kids that allows parents to manage their children’s viewing and video content are already widely offered by other firms.
An industry official on condition of anonymity said those owning smart TV’s are unlikely to feel the need to buy set-top boxes for additional content that is already available without them.
“Calling Daum TV a competitor (with television manufacturers) is, to be direct, ludicrous,” he said. “Other manufacturers are also focusing their vast resources on Web-based platform services for television after the decline of LCD (liquid crystal display) and 3D TVs.”
Samsung has its own operating system (OS) using Linux for its smart TV line-up and boasts over 1,700 movies, apps and other content. The company says it sold 11 million smart TVs last year, while the goal is to move 25 million this year.
“We are focusing on developing content such as apps that will differentiate us from competitors. Our recent exclusive Fitness app is gaining wide popularity and we plan to focus on such products.
LG also has its own OS called Netcast 3.0 for smart TVs, through which users can access over 1,800 content choices. An LG representative declined to reveal shipment numbers, but admitted that they far surpass 10,000.
Samsung and LG also have more accumulated knowledge of television services as global sellers.
According to research firm Displaysearch, 51.22 million televisions were shipped worldwide in the first quarter of this year.