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Powermove Banking On Toshiba TV’s For Growth

They came, they went and now they are back, Toshiba TV’s are again in sale at Harvey Norman in a bold move by Powermove to take on big brand TV’s with the Japanese brand.

The Adelaide based distributor who recently lost the Klipsch range of sound systems which is believed to have been a significant contributor to the Companies profits claim that they are entering the TV market with the Toshiba brand and that they intend “To be a significant player”.

The Company is hoping that they can fill the gap left by the Klipsch loss with the expansion of the Toshiba brand which in 2018 will include a top end OLED model and new premium 4K ULED TV’s.

According to CEO Crawford Giles it’s a case of walking before he can run with the brand which under the management of Toshiba Australia was positioned in the budget end of the TV market.

“At this stage we are concentrating on the Toshiba and Pioneer brands to deliver growth” Crawford said.

Currently Powermove are only supplying the brand to Harvey Norman customers however they do plan on expanding the range in 2018 to other retailers.

The problem is that according to several retailers that ChannelNews has spoken to the TV market is “saturated” with brands with several retailers including JB Hi Fi deciding to stick with the brands they already range.

In Australia, the Toshiba brand has had a chequered past.

After failing to gain traction and despite being ranged at several mainstream retailers including Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi, Toshiba Australia pulled the brand from the Australian market three years ago.

Previously the brand had been sold by Melbourne based distributor Castel who after having the brand snatched from them by local Toshiba management who at the time thought they could do a better job of marketing Toshiba products in Australia.

This resulted in Castel suing Toshiba, in the Federal Court, they won their case and Castel was awarded millions in damages.

One of the architects of the flawed move to snatch the Toshiba TV and CE range back from Castel was current Toshiba CEO Australia, Mark Whittard along with the then CEO of Toshiba Ralph Stadus.
It was not till former Harvey Norman executive Nigel Dent, quit the mass retailer to join Powermove that the Adelaide based distributor made the move to enter the TV market in Australia with the Toshiba brand.

Dent’s connections at Harvey Norman who are now ranging 4 Toshiba models backed the re-entry of the brand which is now challenging both the TCL and Hisense brands sold alongside the Toshiba offering which will be expanded in July to include a premium 65” 4K UHD Model.

ChannelNews has been told that Powermove who already distribute Philips sound systems has also gone after the Philips TV brand, that is distributed by Tempo.

Executives at TP Vision have said that this will not happen.

The relaunch of the Toshiba brand in Australia follows a decision by Chinese based Company Skyworks to take over a Toshiba manufacturing plant.

After signing a 20-year deal that saw Skyworks take over the development of Toshiba TV’s from the Japanese based Company they set about re launching the brand on global markets.

In Europe, the brand is manufactured by Turkish Company Vestel, who late last week rolled out a 65” Toshiba OLED TV aimed at the entry level OLED TV market. The same TV will be launched in Australia next year according to Dent.

The all new 65X9763 Toshiba 65-inch TV has been built around OLED technology supplied by LG.

As you’d expect, the X97 features an LG-sourced OLED panel at its heart. Aside from that, though, it appears to be an all-Toshiba and Vestel effort – rather than some basic rebadging exercise.

The X97’s physical design originated from Toshiba in Japan – the picture processing is apparently also Toshiba’s own work.

John Archer who also does TV reviews for SmartHouse, said that the design of the X97 is reasonably attractive.

Its bezel is a little wider than we’re used to seeing now, plus its black finish looks and feels a little mundane by OLED standards; much of the rear sticks out further than most OLED TVs, too.

However, the centrally mounted desktop stand benefits from an attractive and robust metallic silver finish, and Toshiba has a good excuse for that bulky rear in the form of a built-in ‘speaker box’ and subwoofer that promises a better sound than you’d generally get at the affordable end of the OLED TV spectrum.

What could benefit Powermove in Australia is that the Toshiba 65X9763 is being pitched as a ‘budget’ OLED TV and their 2018 launch, could coincide with the launch of new budget OLED TV’s by Philips, Hitachi, TCL and several other brands who will be looking to undercut the current OLED TV manufacturers Sony, LG and Panasonic.

ChannelNews understands that Aldi could be selling a sub $1,800 OLED TV in late 2018.

Archer said that despite its affordability, the X97 will be operated by a smart TV system designed in-house by Toshiba and Vestel.

Both Netflix and Amazon Video will both be available on this proprietary platform.

Back in the US market and after its third year of dwindling returns in the HDTV market, Toshiba quit in 2014 after pulling out of the television business worldwide.

According to Powermove the Company who recently cut back their retail agents said that they have no plans to invest in mainstream market.

“At this stage, we are investing in Harvey Norman marketing and in store merchandising”. Said Dent.

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