Sony Europe to release 75% of products in HD by March

By James Wells in Berlin

BERLIN: Sony Europe president, Fujio Nishida, has announced that 75 per cent of Sony products will be high definition compatible by March 2008 reinforcing the brand’s commitment to what it refers to as an ‘HD World’.

Speaking at the 2007 Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) in Berlin, Nishida emphasised the importance of the company’s HD products including X Series Bravias, HD Handycam, Blu-ray Disc players as well as Cyber-Shot and Vaio products which also offer HD features.

“By March 2008, we expect 75% of all Sony Electronics products to be HD compatible. It means from the lens to the living room, Sony offers a complete end to end value chain of products that sets us apart and enables our customers to shoot and share edit and enjoy breathtaking HD images whenever or whenever they want to.”

Nishida also referred to the “robust health” of the Sony consumer electronics business in Europe.

“The topline is that we are well on track with our performance to make Sony an even more a formidable force in the digital entertainment space and rekindle the loyalty of our customers as we enter our seventh decade as a company.

“Electronics of course is our absolute lifeblood worldwide. It is by far the biggest contributor to sales – electronics contributed two thirds of consolidated global sales of just over 55 billion Euros in the year to March,” Nishida said.

Europe now represents 27 per cent of Sony’s revenue with 9.12 billion Euros in sales for the last fiscal year. This is higher than the US at 22.9 per cent and Japan at 18.9 per cent. The rest of the world represents roughly a third of Sony’s business combined.

“Europe is absolutely critical to Sony’s global success. It is our mission to boost that business after some tough challenges that we have had to face up to, we have learned that we can’t afford to stand still as a company, our business environment is in a state of perpetual change," Nishida said at IFA.

"Change comes on two distinct fronts – firstly we have to anticipate the impact of customers of rapid technological change. We are in the network and broadband world, where the barriers between AV and IT are blurring. HD is increasing supplanting SD inside and outside the home – just as we have been evangalising over the last few years. The digital enterainment experience no longer confined to your living room, it is with you all of the time and wherever you go.

"Secondly we always have to recognise change in our competitive environment. New competitors are flooding into the CE market any time. To put it bluntly, just about anyone can source a few chips and call themselves a manufacturer of a digital cameras or MP3 player.

"In our industry we all face relentless price erosion. This means at Sony we have to fight back by offering our customers truly valuable digital entertainment experiences that are truy valuable so they will remain loyal to us. Here our big opportunity of adding customer value lies in capitalising on our huge range of assets both in electronics and content.

"We have to play to our strengths and act as Sony United specifically this means creating an HD World for our customers where they can enjoy the very best HD images wherever they are and whatever they are doing."

Nishida said the future challenges for his business relate to two corporate pillars – reading consumer needs and translate these into consumer wants.

“The first pillar is a razor sharp focus on the viewpoint of our customers – who are they, what do they do, what do they spend their time doing, what excites them, how do they choose and how do they expect a brand like Sony to talk to them. We have spent an awful amount of time looking into every single aspect of the customer journey to make it easier, more pleasurable and more satisfying.

"The second pillar is to exploit our cutting edge technological development skills in capabilities including semi-conductor, games, images, and of course HD.

"As we continue to drive electronics, the overarching theme that underlines everything we do is the HD World, which I refer to as the DNA that flows through every strand of Sony’s activities."

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