Panasonic not adopting Sony strategy

The Osaka-based company behind Panasonic-brand products is taking a clearly different approach from longtime rival Sony Corp., which unveiled a new PlayStation 2 last week that combines features such as a DVD recorder and TV tuner with the game console.

“We think the demands are subtly different so in our strategy we will develop them separately,” said Kazuo Toda, Matsushita senior managing director.

Toda said the company’s analysis shows games and entertainment don’t really mix and products that tried to do that didn’t sell too well. Matsushita will continue to work with Nintendo Co. on game machines and there is no change in that strategy, he told reporters at a Panasonic showroom in Tokyo.

Matsushita started selling a product called Q only in Japan in 2001 that combines the Nintendo GameCube with a DVD player, but sales have been small.

In contrast, Sony showed its beefed up “crossover” console called the PSX as a key part of its product strategy. The machine goes on sale in Japan this year and is planned for the United States and Europe early next year. The Sony PlayStation 2, which includes a DVD player, is the No. 1 video game machine, with 52.5 million sold worldwide.

Toda said a key part of Matsushita’s strategy is to invest 20 billion yen (US$169 million) to 30 billion yen (US$253 million) in a global advertising campaign to promote the Panasonic brand. He showed reporters a new TV ad for a Panasonic DVD recorder starring film director Oliver Stone.

The DVD recorder, which has been selling well since February, is Matsushita’s first product launched under its new strategy for simultaneous global marketing to maximize profits and sales.

But Toda acknowledged the move carries risks because any recalls or failures will strike on a larger scale. “The preparations must be excellent,” he said.

Toda refused to say how much the company hopes to save by unifying global product sales.

Source: Tokyo AP