David Eun, Samsung’s EVP/Global Media, told IBC conference delegates that the company was developing an Evolution Kit that would be used to upgrade their TV sets to cope with technology improvements.
“We’re selling three TV sets a second, and in the USA we outsell the next three set manufacturers combined,” said Eun. “Our sets are increasingly modular and while we’d love to sell a new TV every year to our loyal customers we know that’s not likely.”
Eun explained Samsung was spending $9bn every year on R&D at 24 centres around the world, and was also looking at ‘virtual’ set-top boxes as well as the harmonisation of its vertically-integrated suite of tablets, phones and smart TVs.
He admitted that as far as on-screen content was concerned nothing was being ruled out. While Samsung was happy, and indeed enthusiastic, about working with partners like NetFlix, Hulu, YouTube and local players like the BBC, it was too early to establish any firm ‘Rev-Share’ model with content owners.
“We want to stay flexible,” said Eun. “We don’t produce content – but never say never. We do recognise the skills and artistry involved in content making and its importance. Meanwhile, we see ourselves as distribution partners for those content creators. Nevertheless, aggregation [of content] remains an option.”
Eun said that about 2000 apps had now been created for Samsung Smart Hub sets, and that the advertising revenues opportunities from increasing use of those Apps, and programming generally, was one aspect they were looking at closely.
He also said that Samsung’s connectivity extended to other devices, not least screens on fridges, as well as a fascinating transparent window product, under development, complete with electronic window blinds, but also capable of showing very large-screen TV. “I like to think that my kids, one day in the future, will ask me how we ever managed in the old days with sticking notes on fridge doors!”
However, Eun also stressed that for many of Samsung’s offerings it was very early days in the learning process. “We’re in the first innings only, and there are many more rounds to be played. But we’re confident that in a world of immense choice we are always going to love our TVs and tablets.”