Sony Execs Tout Premium Video and Audio5 Mar, 2015 By: Stephanie Prange
As the consumer electronics industry continues to struggle with commoditization, Sony Electronics is sticking to higher-priced products that offer a premium experience, executives said at a meeting March 4 in Los Angeles.
“With the marketplace, we will continue to be premium,” said Mike Fasulo, president and COO of Sony Electronics. “We will continue to focus on premium. We will continue to focus on experience and demonstration.”
Premium products feature top quality video and audio, including 4K Ultra-HD for TVs and hi-res audio.
And the 4K push seems to be working, executives stressed.
“This past year has been the best year we’ve had in a decade” for the U.S. business, Fasulo said, adding the product lineup in 2015 is “stronger” than in 2014 and that the company has a “sustainable” cost structure.
Although the Sony Style store footprint will shrink from 10 to about two stores (on the East and West Coasts) this year, the retail outreach will actually expand, he said. A key initiative is the Sony Retail Experience section at about 400 Best Buy stores nationwide — roughly 20-by-20-foot sections spotlighted in the electronics chain’s stores.
Floor demonstrators are employed by Best Buy, but dedicated to Sony and trained by Sony.
“From the consumer perspective, we now offer them many more touchpoints,” Fasulo said. Those “touchpoints” will also include spaces inside other consumer electronics specialty stores.
“4K really works very well, and that’s one of the reasons why we were very successful in 2014,” added Toshi Okuda, deputy president of Sony Electronics.
Executives said the success of 4K can be attributed in part to luck. The new format is hitting the TV replacement cycle at the right time, and is also launching as the economy improves.
“With all good things a little bit of luck helps,” Fasulo said.
4K content is building, executives said, with more news expected at the upcoming NAB confab.
Executives also stressed that recent announcements of the separation of the electronics business should be seen as a “split out,” and not a spinoff. The business will gain more focus as a result, they said.