We all associated Kodak as a company that was into photography and cameras. However, last year, Kodak forayed into the entertainment segment by launching large-screen televisions at affordable process. Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd. (SPPL), which is a Kodak brand licensee in India, launches the new TVs in the offline market with over 400 retail stores in order to capture the growing television segment here in India. Established in India in 1990, Super Plastronics started as a plastic injection molding company, they later went on to produce televisions, and now they are one of the largest TV cabinet manufacturing companies in the country. But they are not stopping here — the company is planning to expand their growth by introducing 4K and UHD televisions, which will add to the choices of consumers who cannot afford to opt for expensive large screen televisions.
To break the ice of what people know and believe about Kodak, they need to present themselves as an established player in the television manufacturing industry, rather than the consumer treading them as a camera manufacturer. In a discussion with Mr. Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd. (SPPL), Kodak HD LED TV India, we get to know a lot more about their plans in India and the future roadmap of Kodak.
Deccan Chronicle: ‘Kodak’ was synonymous for its cameras in India. Do you believe that people will accept Kodak primarily as a TV brand when there are big players like LG and Sony in the market?
Avneet Singh Marwah: Kodak was synonymous with camera technology in India and the reason behind launching KODAK HD LED TV was to highlight the transition from still picture to video technology. Kodak at the time was a brand leader when it came to still photography and we would like to repeat the same with video technology as well. So far, we have received a tremendous response from our customers in India.
DC: What are your thoughts on entering the premium segment of Smart or Curve TVs?
ASM: We, as a firm, believe that first the masses should be targeted. At present, we have made televisions with Smart technology available in the market at affordable pricing. Once our footing is strong in the country, we would like to introduce televisions that cater to a premium segment of the market.
We currently have 4 SKU’s in smart TV and are focused on the smart technology at this point. Our highest selling SKU is the 32” smart TV. We are currently working on, and will be looking to launch a 4k smart TV in the future.
DC: Which segment of the customers is Kodak planning to target in the Indian market? What is your target consumer segment in the Indian market?
ASM: As mentioned above, the target market is the common man at this point. We would like our televisions to be available to all and believe we have successfully done that. We are also looking at targeting all metropolitan cities on a larger scale.
DC: Are Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities an integral part of your expansion strategy?
ASM: Yes, Tier 2 and 3 cities are an important plan of our expansion strategy. A lot of our branches are located in Tier 2 cities and we intend to spread the outreach through them.
DC: Can you throw some light on the current trends in the consumer electronics industry?
ASM: Based on our records and recent market experiences, we see the consumer shifting towards Smart TV’s. With internet now being made available widely and at giveaway prices, even consumers in tier 3 cities are looking at smart televisions. Additionally, we see a change in the average size being purchased from a 32-inch to 40-inch in certain areas.
We see the consumer being wary of the television being purchased and the specifications of the same rather than only depending on the brand name.
DC: What is the current market share of Kodak HD LED TV with regards to the consumer electronics segment? How much does Kodak plan to capture by 2020?
ASM: Our target is to attain a market share of 3% by the end of 2017-18. KODAK HD LED TV is a “Make in India” initiative so our aim is to capture 7% of the market share by the end of 2020-21.
DC: What is your vision for Kodak, over the next 2 years?
ASM: We see the outreach of KODAK HD LED TV’s being taken to the next level and it becoming a home grown brand, dear to the Indian consumers.
DC: What are the recent trends that have made the maximum impact in the industry in 2017? What are the other areas of technology that you wish to explore next year?
ASM: The recent trends that have brought around major changes are Smart televisions and to a certain extent 4K televisions. We have recently introduced one of our leading smart televisions where the RAM is 1GB and the ROM i.e. the storage is 8GB. These features are almost never offered by the leading television companies currently in the market. The rationale behind this upgrade is that the consumer should be able to download as many applications as possible and eliminate the need of a USB stick.
We intend to explore the 4K technology in the coming months since at this point the availability of 4K technology in the form of broadcasting is almost negligible.
DC: August 2017 will mark Kodak HD LED TVs first anniversary in India. What has your journey been like, in the past year?
ASM: The journey has been fantastic and we have learned a great deal in this past one year. We continue to try to improve on areas where we believe we are lacking and hope to build on our strengths. We need to thank all our customers who have believed in us. The key highlights will be the kind of visibility we have achieved over the past year, making KODAK HD LED TV one of the best affordable brands in India.
DC: What impact will GST have with regards to the consumer electronics industry? Does it imply a significant shift in your current business model? What are Kodak’s thoughts on the same?
ASM: GST is not a pressure point for us. In fact, it a relief, as Kodak HD LED TV is an affordable brand. Several brands face difficultly as the products being sold are fake, sold in the grey market or sold in cash- all practices which are terminating the market as well as the economy. So, with one county, one tax policy, I feel all these practices will slow down, which in turn is a good sign for affordable brands in the market.
Post GST, the price of televisions will increase by 4-5%, if LED TV’s fall under 28% tax slab. We have unanimously agreed to support our trade partners in this respect. There will be an impact on the sale of our products in the first 2 months of the GST rollout, however, once the festive season starts off, sales will begin to pick up once again.
DC: Considering trade partners may incur a slight impact due to input tax, will Kodak be offering any incentives to their trade partners?
ASM: We will be supporting our trade partners to whatever extent possible and are currently working with them closely to negate any impact that GST may cause as well as enable a smooth crossover from the current tax system.
It seems like Kodak is surely getting aggressive on the television front and has aimed for the common man and his needs. With affordable prices on high-end TVs, the future looks promising for Kodak....