Toshiba guns for top five spot in TV market

By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Toshiba has set the goal of becoming a top five player in the Australian TV market after a record month of LCD TV sales in June, and will roll out a swag of new Regza-branded LCD TVs in the second half of 2007.

The newly formed Toshiba Australia, which operates under the umbrella of Toshiba Information Systems Division (ISD) to manage the brand’s AV product portfolio, is seeking to double its television business in the first year of operation to enter the top tier of the colour TV category.

The company took control of the Toshiba AV product portfolio in April, but general manager Mark Whittard said yesterday that June was the company’s first fully-operational month of trading.

“It’s not very often in this mature market that you have to start a business from scratch. We’ve come from nowhere to setting a record for Toshiba flat panel TV sales last month. We have ramped up this business substantially,” said Whittard.

With just 15 per cent market penetration of flat panel TVs in Australia, Toshiba believes there is a significant window of opportunity for the brand to work its way into the market as that figure grows to around 70 per cent in the next few years.

“Eighteen years ago, Toshiba was the number one brand in televisions. This is a long term goal for us, but in the short term we would like to be in the top five,” he said.

The establishment of Toshiba Australia has been a difficult process, said Whittard, who described the first few months following the company’s operation as a ‘rollercoaster ride’.

Toshiba has to date hired 35 new staff to get the AV business up and running, including former DGTEC national sales manager Steve Rindfliesch. But the company said yesterday the brand is now in “full swing”.

“Our go-to-market strategy is with the large or premium retailers, so the likes of Harvey Norman, Myer and Clive Peeters fit in well with the culture of the Toshiba brand – premium quality. Our LCD picture quality is as good or better than Sony but at a lower price, and we have better quality than Panasonic and we are approaching their pricing,” said Whittard yesterday.

Toshiba is backing LCD technology and will roll out a large-screen, full HD Regza range at the end of the year with sizes spanning from 37 inches to 57 inches.

The new flagship WL68 LCDs, officially launched yesterday, feature 100Hz scanning technology and comes in four sizes from 32 inches to 47 inches with prices ranging from RRP $1,999 to RRP $4,399.

Toshiba has also launched the Regza C3000 series LCDs with integrated digital tuners and the Regza A3000 series LCDs featuring the Meta Brain Pro image processing technology.

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