Vestel Makes Deal for Free TVs with Telefonica

Vestel told us that it has done a deal for TVs with Telefónica of Spain which plans to give them away to subscribers to the Movistar Plus service which includes all Spanish FTA DTT channels. The sets will not need an STB as it will have the functions of a box integrated into the set and will be available in 32″, 40″ and 48″. Customers cancelling the service will be expected to return the sets.

Most of what was shown at IBC was the same as the IFA show (Vestel Looks to Automotive and Better Pixels). Although we thought they looked pretty good, we heard that Vestel has only had limited success with its smartphones so far, However, Vestel is optimistic that it will do better with its second generation of devices which are now becoming available.

Analyst Comment

In addition to this deal, we heard that Samsung has also done a deal with Teléfonica that allows access to the service through its sets without the need for an STB. Samsung has included an app for a while, but this deal extends that and both companies see potential for IoT and home services, on top of the video/TV offerings.

It must be ten years or more since I had a conversation with a company that was worried about the cost of HD LCD sets for consumers that had been buying CRTs. We suggested that a “mobile phone”-like model of paying for an HD service and getting a set free might be a good way to go. The company replied that it had seen what mobile operators had done for handset makers’ margins and didn’t want to go that way. That was a fair comment at the time, but that was before Apple changed the rules by delivering a new and compelling user interface experience. That allowed Apple to capture a huge part of the added value for smartphones.

We heard that large numbers of the sets for the Fatih project were delivered in Q2. Our guess is that there must have been some tough talking between Vestel and the Turkish government over pricing since the massive devaluation of the Turkish Lira recently, which would have a big impact. If the deal was done in Lira, then Vestel would be in trouble, but if in dollars, then the government would be pretty unhappy. (BR)