Indian TV market: It’s CRT vs LED
KOLKATA: The good old bulky televisions may have completely vanished from the shelves of modern retailers such as Croma and Reliance Digital, but a handful of domestic manufacturers led by Videocon, Onida and Salora are still betting on CRT, or cathode ray tube, models due to strong demand in rural and semiurban markets.
Indian manufacturers are using CRT models to fight the Koreans and Japanese biggies, which now make only flat-panel televisions, with the recent fall in rupee’s valuation increasing the price gap between CRT and LED/LCD televisions significantly.
“The price gap has doubled to Rs 5,000 – 6,000 on a like-to-like screen size, thereby giving a fresh lease of life to the CRT market,” CM Singh, chief operating officer at Videocon, said.
“This has also reduced the pace of decline of the CRT television market.” A 21-inch CRT television set is now available for around Rs 7,000 compared to Rs 13,000 for a similarsized LED model. Similarly, an entry-level 14-inch CRT TV is sold for around Rs 4,000, a screen segment where there is no competition from the flat panel television segment.
According to industry estimates, the biggest market for CRT televisions now are West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. YV Verma, CEO at Mirc Electronics that owns the Onida brand, said the CRT TV market will survive in India as long as the picture tube is available. “This would be the most challenging aspect since most of the picture tube manufacturers in India have stopped production, leaving the industry to source the component from China and Indonesia,” he said.
Mirc sources its picture tube from Indonesia, while rival Videocon sources it from the Thomson plant it had acquired in China. With the availability of picture tubes becoming an issue, regional companies like Salora and Oscar are diversifying into flat panel televisions to de-risk their business and grow revenue.
GK Jiwarajka, chairman and managing director at Salora International, said LCD and LED portfolio already contributes 50% to the firm’s television business. India’s top three television makers — Sony, Samsung and LG — have already exited CRT TV market due to low margins.
While Sony stopped producing the bulky TV in 2008-09, LG quit last month. Deepak Jasrotia, sales head (home entertainment) at LG India, said flat-panels televisions continue to erode CRT market due to technological advancement and competitive pricing of panel televisions.
“As a brand, we would like to focus on product portfolio which is future growth engine,” he said, justifying LG’s decision to focus on flat panels. The market for CRT and flat panel television this year is estimated to be equal in terms of volume, at around six-million units each.
However, the CRT market has been declining. Its sales were around 10-million units last year and expected to become four-million units next year. The CRT TV market is valued at around Rs 4,000 crore, just one-third of the Rs 12,000-crore flat panel segment where top-end models cost lakhs.