3 years ago

Day 1 - IFA International

  • Text
  • Philips
  • Consumer
  • Products
  • Audio
  • Consumers
  • Streaming
  • Berlin
  • Wireless
  • September
  • Lifestyle

Exclusive Interview

Exclusive Interview MATTHIAS HARSCH Matthias Harsch (47) has served as a member of Loewe Group’s executive board since the beginning of this year. A graduate in business administration, he is responsible for the management of the company’s marketing, sales and customerservice divisions. Before joining Loewe, Harsch was CEO of Bizerba Group from 2006-2011. INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT The Loewe Individual 55 television featuring the Loewe 3D Orchestra speaker system has won this year’s EISA ‘Best Product’ Award in the European Home Theater Solution category. Announcing the award, to be presented tonight at a gala ceremony at the Radisson Blu hotel, EISA’s jury of independent experts said: “Loewe always strives to provide home-entertainment systems that mix premium design and ease of use with a quality audiovisual experience. The new Individual 55 slim-frame TV offers active 3D playback, an integrated PVR and smart TV features. The 3D Orchestra 5.1 IS, meanwhile, uses an array of wireless speakers with omni-directional dispersion, ensuring an immersive surroundsound performance. This is an appealing fuss-free solution.” Loewe CEO Matthias Harsch added: “This award from the international specialinterest press represents an important recognition of our work and strengthens our resolve.” Loewe’s Perfect World Innovation and individuality define brand Matthias Harsch: “securing a successful future” Matthias Harsch, CEO of Loewe, comes to IFA 2013 with an ambitious expansion strategy, a new global marketing plan — and the promise to deliver the perfect entertainment experience to the market… [ Interview by Richard Barnes ] This year at IFA, we have adopted the slogan ‘My Perfect Entertainment’. In the premium-entry segment, we are presenting our new Loewe Art TV line. In combination with loudspeakers and the new Loewe racks, these TVs can be arranged as complete home-entertainment systems. In the high-end premium segment, technology and design are represented by the Loewe Individual and Loewe Reference ID product lines. In addition, we continue to expand the audio design segment with sound ports and mobile loudspeakers. And last but not least, we are daring to look ahead to the future of multimedia TV by presenting three courageous design studies. Business has been tough and a lot of changes have taken place at Loewe. Could you give us a brief outline? Loewe was, and still is being, strongly affected by the general two-digit sales decline in Europe’s TV sector. In order to drive the restructuring of the company, we entered into an extensive strategic partnership with the Chinese high-tech company Hisense “We are daring to look ahead to the future of multimedia TV” in late July. This partnership is designed to open up synergies in the fields of procurement, development, production and distribution. For example, we will develop a joint technical platform, introduce Hisense’s latest UHD technology and start joint distribution in the Austrian test market. With regards to our next step, we are in constructive discussions with potential investors with the aim of effecting a capital increase. Thanks to these measures, we feel confident of securing a successful future for Loewe. You have also been strategically realigning your product offer. Could you tell us more… Loewe is set to expand its product range, mainly in the premium-entry segment. We have already started this process with the new Loewe Art line. In addition, in the audio design segment, our new products are attracting younger target groups. Our central brand values remain award-winning design, meaningful innovation and exclusive individuality — and they will remain the core elements throughout all our product classes. How important is IFA as part of your global marketing plan? IFA is the most important international platform. We can demonstrate our range to a wide audience while, in a separate area of our booth, welcoming our trade partners from both Germany and our export markets. In addition, IFA is a powerful media event for gathering and distributing news. Hall 6.2 Stand 101 24

Exclusive Interview YNTHT! “You Need To Hear This” – Philips launches renewed attack in audio sector Wiebo Vaartjes, General Manager – Lifestyle Entertainment and Executive Vice-President – Philips Consumer Lifestyle, while announcing new products at IFA (see also news section), has sent a clear message to the market at IFA: “Philips is here to stay as a consumer electronics brand”. Mr Vaartjes – who already in 2006 headed Philips’ Sound Solutions Business Unit – says the whole group is now focussing on creating a “real lifestyle experience”. Philips is continuing to bring new audio solutions to the market, including sound bars, docking stations, small audio, DECT phones and video players. A major growth area is that of headphones. IFA International editor-in-chief Richard Barnes met with Mr Vaartjes at the Philips stand, and asked how he could best describe the new direction of his company. - Wiebo Vaartjes General Manager – Lifestyle Entertainment and Executive Vice-President – Philips Consumer Lifestyle [ Interview by Richard Barnes ] We want to play a role in the new world of connected entertainment. That was the case in the past, but it’s even more the case for the future. This whole idea of creating products that help you release the content from your smartphone or your tablet – that’s where we are. We are surrounding the portable devices with all kinds of devices with easy connectivity, great sound quality and of course beautiful designs. That’s our mission. Earlier in the year it was announced that Funai Electric would be taking over the running of your operation. What does this mean? I am quite excited about this, because we are again part of a consumer electrics company that is driving for growth in this business. We have already been working with them for over twenty years, but what this means is that we will continue to drive the Philips brand in connected entertainment, only under the ownership of Funai Electric. The brand will be there, the brand perception and implementation will be there, we will have a very close cooperation with TP Vision – our sister company in the TV business. But the Funai management were apparently surprised how big your R&D division was… Yes, because we have always really been trying to innovate. That’s our core aim. Of course in this business you always have categories that are declining or changing, but there are a lot of things that are growing. One of them is stemming from the massive change in televisions. They are becoming bigger, smarter and thinner, but with less space for the sound. So we have an interesting product called the Sound Stage, which can be put at the foot of the TV. And we are trying to find clutter-free solutions. There are sound bars where the end speakers can be released, and with “ This whole idea of creating products that help you release the content from your smartphone or your tablet – that’s where we are” wireless connectivity they can be placed at the back of the room – so if you want to watch a movie you can have surround sound with lossless audio. We are also creating a much bigger array of headphones. Through our research we have found something extremely interesting. Normally in different geographic zones, people have varying tastes for sound quality, but we have found that in the field of headphones, people to the contrary have very similar tastes all around the world. There is a sound signature that is appreciated by a lot of people independent of where they live. We’ve dubbed it the Philips Sound Signature – or PSS. You have mentioned in the past that sound is your passion… just how far does that go? We go to great lengths to ensure that our products reproduce every sound with the authenticity of the moment it was first created. We are obsessed with sound. We have a “sound panel” – our “Golden Ears” – specially trained people around the world, who rate our sound products. They compare our products with competitors in the same price brackets. We aim for 70% of our sound panel to rate our products equal or better than the competitors in the same category. Hall 22 Stand 101 IFA International • Friday 6 th September 2013 25

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