The Indian Premier League (IPL) may be in the news for wrong reasons including allegations of financial irregularities, but the Twenty20 cricket tournament may be doing wonders to the sales of flat-panel TV sets with increasingly larger screens that give fans more pleasure in watching live telecasts.
Leading television makers say that over the last couple of months sales of flat panel televisions that carry LED, LCD or plasma screens have grown by a robust 120 per cent compared with the same period a year ago, though it is difficult to establish how much the IPL has speeded up already robust sales.
An average colour TV that relies on a picture tube to transmit images is available in the screen-size range of 14 to 29 inches, while flat panel TVs (with either LED, LCD or Plasma screens) start at 19 and go as high as 65 inches.
In general, viewers all over are upgrading from old sets to flat panel TVs, but sporting events like the IPL clearly give a momentum to sales, say industry executives.
“A flat-panel television with its bigger screen gives better picture clarity than a conventional colour TV, offering the viewer a feel of watching the sport in a stadium,” said Ravinder Zutshi, deputy managing director of Samsung India Electronics. Samsung says it has seen 100 per cent year-on-year growth in flat-panel TV sales since January this year.
Samsung’s fellow South Korean rival LG Electronics is also upbeat on flat panel growth and besides IPL, besides FIFA World Cup soccer and Commonwealth Games in Delhi later this year.
“The overall market for flat panel televisions is growing at a robust pace and with forthcoming mega-sporting events lined up it will grow further in the near future,” said Rohit Pandit, business head for home entertainment LG Electronics India. LG Electronics too has witnessed a 100 per cent growth in flat panel TV sales since January.
Japanese electronics major Panasonic, which has a relatively low market share, says plasma TV sales rose 200 per cent year-on-year during January-March.
“Forthcoming sporting tournaments in cricket, soccer and the Commonwealth games are expected to fuel the growth even further,” said Manish Sharma, marketing head, Panasonic.
Japan’s Sony, Dutch Philips and China’s Haier confirmed that sales of their brand of flat panel televisions have been robust during the current calendar year. But they did not give details.
Industry players estimate that the total annual market size for high-end flat panel televisions is expected to be around three million by December-end, double that of last year.
“Though the total television market is expanding, yet in the coming months a major chunk will be accounted for by the flat panel televisions,” said Vivek Sharma, chief marketing officer, Indian Subcontinent, Philips Electronics India.