Pioneer May Leave TV Market

Japanese electronics manufacturer Pioneer is considering various options regarding its flat panel TV business as a result of increasing losses. One option is for the company to terminate in-house TV production entirely.

Even after Japan's Nikkei newspaper claimed Pioneer plans to pull out of the television market entirely, a Pioneer spokesman said, "There is a whole spectrum of possibilities with withdrawal on one end, in-house development and production on the other, and sales of procured TVs somewhere in the middle.”

pioneer-plasmaThe company has previously announced plans to end the production of plasma display panels but intended to continue producing TV sets using panels from Panasonic. The Nikkei also brought word that Pioneer will spin off its DVD player business and will form a new joint venture with Sharp.

The company plans to announce earnings results for the October-December quarter on Feb. 12 and will reveal any restructuring measures by the end of the month. The Nikkei claims Pioneer plans to cut several thousand jobs by March 2010. The Pioneer spokesman said no decision has been made regarding job cuts.

According to an estimate from DisplaySearch, the PDP TV market is predicted to grow by 5% this year to 14.6 million units. This growth is significantly less than the 24% growth experienced last year. Part of the drop in growth is due to increased competition from LCD TVs and the fact that there are fewer PDP TV makers in the market.

Pioneer is currently projecting a net loss of 78 billion yen (about $848.6 million) for the year ending March 31. This will be the company’s fifth consecutive year with annual losses. In the first three quarters of 2008, Pioneer held a 5.9% share of the plasma TV market. This share is far behind Panasonic’s 37%, Samsung’s 22.8%, and LG’s 15.5% shares.