LG makes some of the best OLED TVs and monitors in the business, but a recent announcement has revealed a major expansion of its offerings. LG CEO William Cho announced in a speech at LG Science park in Seoul, South Korea, a new direction for the company.
Instead of being a hardware-oriented business, which makes most of its money when customers buy a new TV or display, it's going to become "a platform-based service business model that continuously generates profits". In other words: ads!
Reading between the business-speak, it's pretty clear that you're about to start seeing a lot more ads on your LG TV, as well as an expansion of the available services you can stream.
It's important to note that LG's television business is separate from LG Display, which is the company that actually makes the panels for LG and for many other manufacturers. These changes are purely about the TVs LG makes and the smart TV platform it owns, webOS.
What exactly is LG up to?
According to LG, it intends to "transform its TV business portfolio into a 'media and entertainment service provider' by expanding content, services and advertisement in products, including LG OLED and LG QNED TVs, which have differentiated competitiveness".
LG has already announced its intention to add more TV brands to its webOS platform, including a trillion-won investment in its own Roku-rivaling LG Channels. That's its FAST (Free Ad-Supported Television) offering, similar to Samsung TV Plus, and it's a market that's growing, well, fast. LG Channels increased from 20 million users in 25 countries last year to 48 million users in 29 countries this year.
LG also intends to provide webOS and LG channels to more external TV brands, and to bring webOS to "more product groups". Although, at the moment it isn't saying what those groups might be.
Reading between the lines, the goal appears to be an expanded focus on quantity rather than quality. FAST isn't exactly a premium product but we've seen it used by the likes of Amazon Freevee and Roku to cut the price of TV hardware in exchange for more advertising on devices. It'll be interesting to see whether the policy only applies to more affordable models, as I can't see buyers who bought one of the best LG TVs being too happy about seeing more ads on their sets.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.