India’s smart TV scene was never so competitive. Here's how Noida-based Super Plastronics Private Ltd. (SPPL) is reacting to it through its Kodak-branded TVs.
Noida-based Super Plastronics Private Ltd. (SPPL) says it is the only brand licensee in India that has partnered with Google bringing official Android TV support to a new range of Kodak smart TVs that’s launching today for as ‘low’ as Rs 23,999. The reason why low has been stressed here is because even though the new Kodak smart TVs start at under Rs 25,000, they pack specifications you’d normally associate with higher-end, more expensive televisions.
One is of course ‘official’ Android TV (Android TV 9 Pie) support. There’s also a built-in Chromecast. Plus, there’s Dolby Vision, alongside support for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Available in a slew of sizes ranging from 43-inch to 65-inch, the new Kodak CA series also packs 4K and HDR. In other words, all these Kodak-branded smart TVs are punching way above their weight. But then, they’re also coming in the midst of ‘intense’ competition from the likes of Xiaomi and Vu. India’s smart TV scene was never so competitive.
In an exclusive interview with Financial Express Online, Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO, Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd, explains how the brand licensee is using nostalgia and word of mouth marketing to ship Kodak smart TVs to 18,000 pin codes in India. Excerpts.
— Could you talk about your new deal with Google and what this means for customers?
We became the first Indian TV brand to get the Android license for manufacturing and developing Android TV under ‘Make in India.’ We are proud to announce that all our Android TVs will be completely developed in our R&D center (in India). This will benefit Indian customers as we are built completely for the Indian ecosystem. From the content of the TV to sound, we have done extensive customization.
— Could you talk about how India’s smart TV space has changed in the last few years?
In the last 4 years, there has been a transition in the TV industry. Back in 2016, the smart TV market share was 20% and today it has increased to 76% market share in India. If we talk about Kodak, its market share is 85 % for smart TVs. I would like to give the credit to content providers as well, there was a big disruption in 2017 due to which we saw a major spike, today TV is all about content. In the new Kodak Android TV, you will find more than 5,000 games and applications that can be updated and are running on the latest Android OS 9.0 which can also be updated.
— Who is Kodak’s target audience and how are you catering to their needs in the smart TV segment?
The best part about Kodak has been its brand equity and its nostalgia. Kodak is the world’s 5th most recalled brands. In India, I think all the segments from the middle class to upper-middle class have used Kodak products in their life. So, we get this advantage in all our series from affordable to premium-affordable. Kodak TV does a lot of target marketing, especially to the customer whose intent of buying gadgets is high. We always tell our customers first compare it and then buy it, and that too if you are comparing with the top 3 for their 43 inch smart TV (for instance), you can get a Kodak 55 4K TV. This strategy has worked out well for us.
— Could you talk about your sales model, how are you reaching out to customers? What’s your after-sales support strategy?
Our sales motto is simple, we give our customer premium models at a very affordable price; today a customer needs a premium large screen TV at an affordable and honest price. We do a lot of digital marketing, as I have mentioned earlier targeting marketing plus, we have seen a huge spike due to word of mouth, it’s an old school marketing tool but trust me it still works in India. Our conversion rates both offline and online is one of the best in India compared to any top 3 brands in India. Apart from that, we are focused on launching new technology products, currently we are launching a new android TV which is bazel-less and a flagship model.
Currently, Kodak is shipping to more than 18,000 pin codes in India; we have one of the best infrastructure. Kodak TV has more than 550 service centers, 28 offices pan India and 25 warehouses across India. Our SLA in tier 1 cities for installation and service is less than 24 hours.
— How do you see the competition from brands like Xiaomi and Vu, that cater to the same market segment? How is Kodak different?
I think due to healthy competition, the brand always wants to come out with its best. Kodak is launching its new android TVs which are one of the world’s best and offer the latest technology. They’re fully loaded TVs with Android pie, Dolby Vision, Dolby digital plus, DTS, HDR 10, Bluetooth version 5.0, official Netflix and Prime Video, frameless design, etc. These will be India’s most affordable Android TVs, available on Flipkart.
— Could you talk about your offline presence?
Our offline presence is increasing month on month, currently we have more than 5,000 billing counters across India. In terms of modern retail, we are available at Reliance, Croma, Metrocash and carry, Aditya Birla and along with that we are starting with Walmart and Spencer this month. By the end of 2020, Kodak TVs will be available in 20 states in India.