July/Aug 2019

Retra CEO reports: Members are pulling out of TV

The current TV market is not sustain able for retailers. This was the hard-hitting statement from Howard Saycell, Retra’s Chief Executive. Talking about conversations he has with members,

refl ecting how tough things are on the high street currently, Mr Saycell remarked: “Our members have fi xed costs with staffi ng, stock and pay and all these things, and they have to make margin on what they sell. We all want people to look at 4K and 8K and be enthused by it, but the reality today is that there are poor returns for retailers.”

He went on to say that a signifi cant amount of Retra members are swapping their television display areas for fi tted kitchens due to “all the extra selling opportunities” that brings.

We all want people to look at 4K and 8K. The reality today is that there are poor returns for retailers.

Content is coming

Refl ecting on the day’s events, Thomas Wrede, VP New Technology and Standards at SES (pictured), referred to the day as “pragmatic” and he said content well refl ected the status of the industry at the moment with regards to 4K and 8K. “There’s a much higher degree of

confi dence in 4K UHD,” he said. “It comes at a cost, but content is coming.” Mr Wrede added that he believes UHD is fully established, but also that

8K is not commercially viable for many businesses at the moment. “From a technology perspective, this needs to be dealt with. I have the feeling that in the next few years you’ll only get larger fl at screens with an 8K panel. So we have to address this issue.”

8K will come inevitably SES Astra GB’s Mike Chandler said: “There were several key messages from today’s conference – one of them about simplicity for the consumer. They are bombarded with all the different TV standards today, and when you look at the very top end they need some specialist advice and hopefully there will be retailers around who can take that on. “For those who are providing extra services – they install, network houses, work with builders and specify designs etc – they will do very well. But I think there will be an exodus on the high street and there won’t be the more basic retailers around anymore. And the same with manufacturers. It’s a sad refl ection.”

“One member told me not too long ago, he bought

some TVs in, the price in the market had fallen and a new range had come in – unsurprising since there are new ranges all the time. He ended up selling a £1,000 television set and making £8. “This is not sustainable.” Retra members are moving into home installation and smart home services, Mr Saycell claimed. While many retailers continue to sell televisions as part of these packages, there are other market forces to be aware of, such as consumer legislation, the Sale of Goods Act, the EU’s Right To Repair Act, which, he warned, will affect not just retailers but manufacturers too.

He concluded: “The bottom line is, many of our members have either pulled out of TV completely or have signifi cantly reduced – maybe from 10 metres of TVs in-store to three metres. They still want to offer these products but there is simply no return on investment.”


The golden age of television

People across the UK are watching nearly a full day’s worth of television every week; that’s according to data from the Digital TV Group (DTG), presented by CEO, Richard Lindsay-Davies. “TV content quality and programme choices are getting better,” he said, “but the reality is that business models are changing.” It’s a really exciting time for the industry, he continued, with many elements

that are improving, whether it’s HDR, high frame rate, next generation audio or wide colour gamut. “The opportunities are there, the question for us is, how do we sustain the business models?” he added. “We are in the golden age of television in terms of the quality of experience and the programmes we have available to us these days. When we get it right, our content in the UK can blow you away – it’s amazing!”

It’s a really exciting time for the industry, with many elements that are improving, whether it’s HDR, high frame rate, next generation audio or wide colour gamut.

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