September 2019

Q: What else can you report from the last year or so? PB: For 2018 as a whole, we had record shares in the TV and Audio business and we are rebuilding our business in home appliances. In fact, we’ve just become the global number one in home appliances, according to market data, which we found out quite recently.

It’s quite surprising for some people that in the UK, the biggest division of our consumer electronics business globally is home appliances, at 32 per cent. And we’ve got our new washing machine and refrigeration platforms coming to market soon too. There’s been lot of change in the retail landscape and with a lot of our retail partners so we’ve got to keep reengaging and reconnecting. Fundamentally, our win will come from better planning, in-house product availability, promotional roadmaps, marketing and execution, and then of course, we will hit my ultimate aim which is to be the preferred partner of choice from the retailer base.

Q: What have been some of your standout products in the past year or so? PB: In TV, it’s the continual evolution of our OLED platform for sure; we’ve got a clear focus on big- screen, which is a growing trend in the market. But we’ve also got NanoCell, which is our leading LED proposition.

In home appliances there’s the award-winning

InstaView, which is our side-by-side refrigerator, and the new bio-wash product V Series, which is supporting our platform on direct drive steam washing machines, one of which has been awarded a Best Buy by Which? They claimed “it’s the best washing machine they’ve ever tested”. Year-in, year-out we continue to get many more accolades. Currently, across Which? we have the number one ranked TV, washing machine and fridge freezer. Indeed, their top five TVs are all LG products. The proof is in the pudding; , and that’s because of the huge investment in R&D and product development.

“It’s been very challenging in the market so far this year, but we’ve got the right partners and we’ve got even better product coming through”

Q: How important is R&D to the growth of the company? PB: It’s hugely important! One of the key things about LG is that 20 per cent of our global workforce is in R&D. One in five people in the whole company specifically work on tomorrow’s business, and this allows us to add value to the market.

A perfect partnership

As part of this issue’s special focus on connected audio, Peter Booth speaks to ERT about LG’s collaboration with Meridian Audio. They started working together in 2017 and they launched their first product last year. The two are now working on their second generation of Meridian tuned products to run across LG’s range of smart speakers, sound bars and Bluetooth speakers.

“This is bringing high-end credibility to our high-end audio products,” explains Mr Booth, “it’s not just a badging

exercise. It’s a deep integration with Meridian’s technology and engineers.” “The process involves Meridian engineers analysing all the elements of the product as a whole, including both its hardware and software resulting in fantastic sounding products.” Mr Booth adds: “This doesn’t just apply to our smart speakers, but our sound bars too. We’re taking the user experience to the next level.”

Q: Where do you think the audio market is heading at the moment? PB: I think audio as a product proposition has helped the consumer understand more about what smart home is all about.

Smart home, as a concept, has been talked about for a few years now and the industry has totally shifted – now it becomes more about ‘how demonstrable can it be when we go in-store?’ Across the market now, the fact that things are Bluetooth and they’re able to wirelessly connect means we can demonstrate that and they can be moved from room to room and they create real excitement in-store. If you think of a product that we’ll look back on in about 10 years’ time, it’s smart speakers, like Amazon Alexa; they can actually do so much for you nowadays it’s incredible.

Q: What does this mean for your products going forward? PB: In 2020 we’ll be extending our Bluetooth speaker and sound bar propositions to make

them each more of an all-in-one offering.

Q: How are things likely to move forward, do you think? PB: From a home entertainment perspective, the emergence of Dolby Atmos is going to be really great for the consumer because it’s not an evolution of surround sound, it’s a completely different type of technology. For sound bars, for example, it’s really fantastic. So rather than a traditional surround sound with speakers dotted around the room – because that’s not ‘smart’ – the sound engineers and mixers at Atmos can independently control and position sounds around the room just through one speaker.

It’s a game changer. And now more and more content is available to enjoy with Dolby Atmos. The home entertainment experience is sort of 50/50 – it’s visual but it’s also audio too, so when you match the two perfectly you get a really immersive experience.



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